Parole as resentencing: Exploring the punitive accounts of parole decision-making through the comparative case study of Israel

Netanel Dagan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Parole boards have traditionally assessed prisoners’ future risk and rehabilitation prospects in deciding on early release from prison. However, parole boards may do more. In some systems, they may deny parole applications for punitive reasons, thus acting as a resentencing authority. This study conducted a qualitative analysis of the punitive discourses of parole decision-making, with Israel as a comparative case study. Through interviews with 20 chairpersons of Israeli Parole Boards, we found three themes of punitive parole decision-making: (a) preserving public confidence in the criminal justice system; (b) preserving penal proportionality; and (c) re-censuring an especially depraved moral character. The findings suggested that parole boards’ punitive discretion is multidimensional and complex. Such punitive discretion may be openly implemented, it may be cloaked as risk assessment, or decided without formal recognition. The findings further indicated that resentencing through discretionary parole may not only conflict with rehabilitation and risk aims, but may also raise challenges for retributive and deterrent penal policy. Implications for comparative parole policy are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1231-1250
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Criminology
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Keywords

  • Deterrence
  • discretion
  • parole
  • public confidence
  • public opinion
  • resentencing
  • retribution

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