Victim participatory rights in parole: Their role and the dynamics of victim influence as seen by board members

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School of Criminology - Simon Fraser University

The last decade has seen as escalating demand from victims to be given a voice in the parole phase of the criminal justice system. Both the Canadian and American governments have responded to this demand by significantly expanding victims' participatory rights in parole. This study examines victim participation in parole from the perspective of individual parole board members. Specifically, this study provides an in-depth exploration of the opinions of individual board members on victim participatory rights in parole and examines how the victim fits into and effects parole board decision-making processes, practices, and outcomes. Particular attention is paid to the analysis of individual, contextual, and environmental variables as they relate to the weighting and integration of victim information. Results obtained suggest that victim participatory rights in a parole context are not fully understood or welcomed by some board members. Most noticeably, significant disparity was evident in how victim information was used and incorporated into parole practices and outcomes by individual board members. Further, the level of support for victim involvement in parole and the extent and method by which victim information is incorporated into parole decision making is influenced by individual board member differences such as gender. These findings and others are discussed in the context of policy implications for the future of victim participatory rights in parole.

Thesis type: 
Dissertation (Ph.D.)
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