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How do parole board members in England and Wales construct decisions about whether to release perpetrators of intimate partner violence from prison?

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Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health

Published online on


["\nAbstract\n\nBackground\nExisting research explores Parole Board decision‐making, but not specifically for perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV), a special case due to the gendered and secretive nature of IPV and the role of control in predicting reoffending.\n\n\nAim\nTo identify associations between case variables in England and Wales Parole Board decisions regarding perpetrators of IPV and explore how these variables help construct the decision.\n\n\nMethods\nLogistic regressions regarding decisions in a sample of all 137 male prisoners who had abused women and applied for release or progression to open conditions in England and Wales from April 2018 to September 2019, developed into latent class analyses.\nThematic analyses of six interviews with Parole Board members about decision‐making in IPV cases.\n\n\nResults\nRelease decisions were strongly predicted by the recommendations of offender managers, offender supervisors and psychologists, mediated by the Parole Board's confidence in their ability. Decisions were also significantly associated with custodial behaviour and attendance on courses, mediated by the Board's confidence in the prisoner's insight and honesty. Thematic analysis was both consistent with these findings and provided a context in which the associations could be understood.\n\n\nConclusions\nThe findings have implications for understanding the dynamics between professional decisions and the Parole Board's decision; for the importance of offender managers demonstrating their expertise and ability to manage risk; for Parole Board members' reflection and development; for academic research into IPV; and for those who have experienced IPV and are looking to understand parole decisions about their abuser.\n\n", "Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, EarlyView. "]