Project

Training for Parole Board Members

Overview

Building on our 30-year history of delivering targeted, substantive assistance and resources to paroling authorities, CEPP is partnering with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) to provide a series of training events for parole board members. Training sessions will focus on topics such as release decision-making frameworks, the role of assessment tools in parole, effective responses to violations of supervision, interviewing techniques, and release planning.

Our Approach

The role of paroling authorities in the justice system is a critical one. In an era in which prisons are overcrowded, rehabilitative programming can be limited or altogether absent, parole caseloads are high, and people face increasingly complex challenges to reintegration and rehabilitation, the decision-making responsibilities of paroling authorities are more complicated than ever. However, specialized training for parole boards—whose membership experiences frequent turnover—is limited.

CEPP is leading this effort, along with NIC, to fill that training gap and to deliver consistent, high-quality, current information to parole board members from around the nation to better equip them to make critical parole decisions. 

Weeklong training events will be convened throughout 2021 and will feature:

  • Information about the history of parole and how it has changed over time, including a shift in focus to encourage the success of people being considered for and released on parole
  • Current research on subjects such as parole decision making, condition setting, violation decision-making guidelines, assessment, and effective interviewing styles 
  • An emphasis on the value of cross-agency collaboration (e.g., with community and institutional programs and Departments of Corrections)
  • A focus on performance measurement and its importance in understanding the impact and outcomes of decision making 
  • Experiential learning exercises that allow participants to engage with and learn from one another 
  • Case scoring and simulated decision making to allow participants to apply the information they have learned and the tools they have explored during the training to sample cases 

Participants will leave the training with a reference handbook to use in their daily decision-making, and a community of colleagues they can call upon in their role as parole board members.

The Impact

Parole board members face an enormously complex set of responsibilities, including decision-making about the timing and conditions of a person’s release from prison, the setting of parole conditions, and whether to return a person to prison for violating those conditions. Given the critical nature of these responsibilities, parole board members should understand and strengthen their awareness of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for this specialized area of the justice system. However, in practice, they are often asked to engage in this work and make critical decisions about people’s lives and liberty without the benefit of adequate training and support. 

The training delivered by CEPP will equip parole board members to more effectively carry out their responsibilities. The curriculum will emphasize the broad range of issues in which parole board members must be grounded and will provide them with the foundation they need to responsibly make parole decisions.

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