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Effect of Mandatory Release Discussion

Effect of Mandatory Release Discussion


Title: Mandatory Release and Its Impact on the Corrections System

Mandatory release, as a policy shift in the corrections system, significantly affects the operation and management of incarcerated individuals. This approach alters the traditional discretion of parole boards and judges by imposing predetermined release dates based on statutory guidelines or sentence completion percentages. Such a change influences various aspects of the corrections system, including prison overcrowding, recidivism rates, and inmate behavior.

One major effect of mandatory release is its potential to exacerbate prison overcrowding. As inmates are released according to fixed timelines, the prison system must manage the influx of individuals returning to society. This influx can strain resources, such as housing, medical care, and vocational training, leading to decreased effectiveness in rehabilitation efforts. Additionally, mandatory release might inadvertently promote recidivism, as individuals who are released without addressing underlying issues or undergoing proper reintegration programs are more likely to revert to criminal behavior.

In response to these challenges, the corrections system would need to adjust its strategies to align with the new mandatory release paradigm. To harness the discretion of parole boards and judges effectively, it would be crucial to focus on proactive rehabilitation efforts during an inmate’s sentence. By identifying individual needs, such as education, vocational training, and mental health support, the system could enhance an inmate’s reintegration prospects and reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Furthermore, the system would require enhanced post-release supervision programs to provide ongoing support and monitor progress, thereby ensuring a smoother transition back into society.

Deciding whether the department of corrections or an independent agency should have authority over release decisions involves a careful consideration of multiple factors. Placing authority within the department of corrections could streamline decision-making and potentially enhance communication between prison staff and rehabilitation personnel, promoting a more holistic approach to release preparation. However, this approach might also lead to conflicts of interest, as the department’s primary focus is security and containment rather than the well-being of individuals.

On the other hand, entrusting an independent agency with release decisions could ensure impartiality and minimize potential conflicts. This agency could be dedicated to evaluating an inmate’s progress, conduct, and rehabilitation efforts, placing a greater emphasis on reintegration readiness. However, this approach might introduce additional bureaucracy and logistical challenges.

In conclusion, mandatory release transforms the corrections system by altering the discretion of parole boards and judges. It has the potential to impact prison overcrowding, recidivism rates, and the overall effectiveness of rehabilitation efforts. To address these challenges, the corrections system must adapt its strategies, focusing on proactive rehabilitation and post-release support. When considering the authority over release decisions, a balanced approach that incorporates both the department of corrections and an independent agency’s expertise may be necessary to ensure fair, effective, and rehabilitative outcomes.


(1) Clear, T. R., Reisig, M. D., & Cole, G. F. (2018). American Corrections (11th ed.). Cengage Learning.

(2) Travis, J., & Visher, C. (2013). Making It Home from Prison: A Comprehensive Review of Reentry Strategies. The Prison Journal, 93(2), 211-246. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032885513483932

Effect of Mandatory Release Discussion



How does mandatory release affect the corrections system? How will corrections adjust to this harnessing of the discretion of parole boards and judges?

Suppose you have been asked to decide whether the department of corrections or an independent agency should have authority over release decisions. Where would you place that authority? Why?

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