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Parole Violations and Revocations in California

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2008
150 pages
This study examined parole violations and revocations in California based on tracking every adult on parole in the State at any point during the calendar years 2003 and 2004 (254,468 parolees responsible for 151,750 parole violations that involved a court or board hearing).
The study found that the State has a high rate and volume of both parole violations and revocations, which is costly and contributes to prison overcrowding without improving public safety. For many offenders, parole supervision fails to disrupt the cycle of crime and imprisonment and offers little hope for behavioral change. There is evidence of significant progress and a willingness of State correctional leaders to reform the system; however, there are substantial organizational, political, and structural obstacles to the success of these efforts. This report discusses how the study’s key findings relate to specific policy initiatives, including several that are currently under consideration or being implemented. Proposals are to concentrate supervision and services in the first 6 months of parole; expand the use of early and earned parole discharge; match parolee risk and supervision levels; use a parole-violation decisionmaking matrix; expand options for intermediate sanctions; encourage criminal prosecution when new parolee felonies are alleged; track extra-level factors that impact revocation; and expand substance abuse and mental health programs for parolees. Recommendations are offered for future research. Chapter tables and figures, 51 references, and appended State mandatory referral policy for parole violations and supplementary information on the study’s statistical analyses

Date Published: October 1, 2008