Susan Turner (University of California, Irvine), Helen Braithwaite(University of California, Irvine), Lauren Kearney (University of California, Irvine), Amy Murphy (George Mason University), and Darin Haerle (University of California, Irvine)
Journal of Crime and Justice, 2012 (in print)
As part of correctional reform in California, the Division of Parole Operations implemented a structured decision-making tool for responding to violation of parole known as the Parole Violation Decision-Making Instrument (PVDMI). The tool considers both parolee risk, as measured by a validated risk assessment tool, and the severity of the parole violation in recommending an appropriate response. This paper presents findings from a pilot study in four parole units across the state. Findings suggest that the tool did not increase consistency in parole agent responses nor reduce the percent of parolees who were returned to prison as a result of a violation. In addition, recidivism rates for parolees whose violations were handled with the PVDMI did not differ from those parolees handled under routine parole revocation practices. A discussion of implementation issues highlights factors affecting full adherence to the structured sanctions model.