September 24, 2013
Documenting the enduring challenges of reentry for parolees and society in Colorado
The Denver Post has had a series of recent notable article on parole policies, practices and practicalities under the heading "Behind Bars." Here are the headlines and links to some of the stories in the series:
Ever the fan of evidence-based policies and technocorrections, I was especially drawn to this article in this series headlined "Technology, quick-reaction programs guiding parole reform in other states." Here is how it starts:
Predicting who will murder is now a science. In cities including Philadelphia and Baltimore, high-tech software helps determine which parolees are most likely to kill and what level of supervision makes sense.
The crime-prediction computer program was developed by Richard A. Berk, a criminology and statistics professor at The University of Pennsylvania. "It's saved a lot of money, and resources for those at low risk have been moved to those at higher risk," Berk said. "Human behavior is complicated, and although parole boards might make the best decisions, there is inevitably going to be a mistake."
The software, which makes forecasts based on geographic location, age, type of crime and other variables, is helping parole boards and law enforcement keep closer watch on the most violent offenders.
In Baltimore, where the system is being used to help determine parolee and probation supervision levels, a test of the program on offenders from 2006 had a 75 percent rate in identifying who would kill and be killed, Berk said. The program doesn't predict whether parolees will commit other crimes. "It's hardly perfect, but we're doing much better than the current seat-of-your-pants forecasting," Berk said.
Pennsylvania is expected to apply the software for all parolees by the end of the year. Other states have found success moving away from parole-officer discretion to more restrictive supervision and rapid-reaction punishment.
A model program in Washington state dishes out swift and predictable consequences for parolees who mess up, according to Mark Kleiman, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Criminals, in general, are short-term oriented, so in order to reform behavior, they need near-immediate reaction from their parole officer. Consequences "need to be fast and they need to be every time or they are not fair," said Kleiman, who formerly worked at the U.S. Department of Justice's criminal division.
September 24, 2013 at 08:58 AM | Permalink
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has the software been subjected to a Daubert review? I know that Daubert standards apply to the criminal trial. Do they apply to sentencing decisions, such as parole, revocation of parole. Unable to find precedents.
This article says, Daubert has not been rigorously applied in such decisions, those requiring the utmost reliability. However, it may not be the last word.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 24, 2013 2:42:54 PM
" model program in Washington state dishes out swift and predictable consequences for parolees who mess up, according to Mark Kleiman, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles."
Swiftness of response shows knowledge of the technical, long established psychological knowledge of punishment, and is to be commended. [I want fairness points, in point out good lawyer decisions.]
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 24, 2013 2:46:21 PM