News Release

APPA Responds to Urban Institute Report
For Immediate Release: 04/01/2005

In response to the release of The Urban Institute’s report Does Parole Work?, the American Probation and Parole Association notes the following:

  • The data used for the report are from 1994 and therefore cannot take into account the experiences of more current and successful re-entry programs. Many of today’s re-entry programs include a combination of pre-release, community involvement and surveillance plus post-release assistance programs.
  • The report makes use of data from only 15 states. The study includes California - the size and scale of whose parole population, parole violator return rates, and other such factors invariably skew any analysis in the direction of a fairly strong, surveillance-oriented model of parole supervision that was in place in the early nineties. States such as Maryland with successful parole programs were left out of the study.
  • The study relies on raw data and is unable to look at variation in state level policies or programs.
  • It does not supply information on the type of supervision or programs the offenders may have participated in nor the significant state-by-state variation in the practice of parole supervision and prison-run programs. Questions such as - What method of supervision was utilized? How were caseloads allocated? What assessments tools were used? Did parolees have access to job training, housing assistance or substance abuse counseling? – are not answered by the data used in this study, but such issues are vitally important in assessing the success of parole.

The Urban Institute study should NOT be used to show that parole does not work because the data analyzed does not provide for such a firm and unequivocal conclusion. APPA maintains that parole can be effective when applied with a balanced approach of prevention, intervention and advocacy. APPA bases this stance on work done by the Re-Entry Policy Council (www.reentrypolicy.org), the tenants of What Works and the principles of a balanced approach that includes treatment, surveillance and enforcement.

For additional information, please see: APPA Response to the Urban Institute Report – Does Parole Work? http://www.appa-net.org/response_urban_institute.pdf