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LAO Report: Promoting Equity in the Parole Hearing Process

The Legislative Analyst’s Office has just published the following report:

Promoting Equity in the Parole Hearing Process

The purpose of the state’s parole hearing process is to decide if eligible people can be released from state prison based on a determination of whether they pose an unreasonable risk to the public. In our review, we identified two aspects of the process that could lead to inequitable outcomes. First, we find that key actors in the process have overly broad discretion and that the process lacks key safeguards on the use of this discretion—which could result in biased decisions.

Accordingly, we recommend that the Legislature (1) consider reducing this discretion somewhat and (2) take steps to increase transparency and oversight of the process. Second, we find that, while some recent steps have been taken to promote more equitable access to effective legal and hearing preparation services for people receiving parole hearings, it is unclear whether these steps are sufficient. Accordingly, we recommend the Legislature (1) assess the impact of recent changes and (2) use the results of this assessment to guide its future actions. We provide various options it could consider depending on what is found in the assessment.

This report is available using the following link: https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4658

This article was released by The Legislative Analyst’s Office.