Overcoming Penal Boundaries: Exploring The Evolution of Retributive Time Through Parole Decision-Making

Netanel Dagan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The relations between sentencing and post-sentencing stages (e.g., the implementation of prison, parole or community-based sanctions) are often perceived through temporal, spatial and normative binaries. The static time of retributive calibration - as fully known at sentencing time - stands at the heart of this separation. Through qualitative findings drawn from parole-board chairpersons in Israel, the paper argues that retributive punishment may evolve with time. As the findings suggest, parole decision-makers often go beyond risk and rehabilitation and reframe, reinterpret and renegotiate the dimensions of the deserved punishment. Three temporally dynamic themes of retributive discourses were described: (1) unexpected suffering review; (2) moral character revaluation; and (3) diminished censure reassessment. The findings challenge both the static conceptualization of retributive time and the instrumental view of parole decision-making. More generally, the findings question the assumed strict boundaries between sentencing and post-sentencing stages and call for future scholarly engagement with the evolution of punishment over time.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)37-54
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (ISTD). All rights reserved.


  • decision-making
  • parole
  • penal time
  • retributive justice
  • sentencing
  • temporality


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