A second look at the D.C. parole discussion
Posted in Publications
The record is clear: Parole boards don’t work. In the 1970s, more than 70 percent of all releases from prison were based on the discretion of a parole board, but, over time, parole boards became increasingly stingy. They often limit the frequency of application, provide little justification or evidentiary basis for their decisions, ignore evidence of rehabilitation and allow politicians to overrule their decisions whenever the original crime has a sensational element. Today, less than 20 percent of releases are based on a parole board’s discretion.
Now, there is momentum around D.C. regaining control over parole decisions affecting D.C. residents from the lame-duck U.S. Parole Commission, which was set to be abolished more than 20 years ago but has been kept on life support by Congress.
Joshua Miller is managing director of the Georgetown Pivot Program and director of education for the Prisons and Justice Initiative. Tyrone Walker is director of reentry services for the Prisons and Justice Initiative, and a graduate of the 2018-2019 Pivot cohort.