Parole as a boxing match: Lifers, prosecution, and the adversarial making of parole hearings

Netanel Dagan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite being depicted as powerful actors, the work of the State's representatives in parole hearings has to date remained largely invisible. In this study, we aimed to fill this gap through a qualitative analysis of the oral arguments of prosecutors in 130 lifers’ parole board hearings in Israel. The findings suggest that prosecutors construct lifers’ parole hearings as an adversarial, yet asymmetrical, “boxing match.” Three themes were unveiled: Prosecutors construct the lifers as worthy of re-censure; view the lifers as solely responsible for their parole release; and construct the lifers as inherently suspicious individuals. In conclusion, prosecutors’ parole work seems to be more a defense of their shared professional identity as crime fighters than a promotion of an individualized, inclusive, and future-oriented parole decision-making process.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)223-242
Number of pages20
JournalPunishment and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Release from prison
  • decision-making
  • life imprisonment
  • parole hearings
  • prosecution


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