Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1874251
 
 

References (67)



 
 

Citations (3)



 


 



Assessing Racial Discrimination in Parole Release


Stéphane Mechoulan


Dalhousie University

Nicolas Sahuguet


HEC Montreal - Institute of Applied Economics

June 1, 2011


Abstract:     
We investigate possible racial discrimination in the context of discretionary parole release. We develop a rational choice model of release whereby a parole board must balance parolees risk of violation with the cost of not releasing prisoners who may not violate their parole. A color-blind parole board would release all individuals below a certain risk threshold. To test this prediction, we take advantage of a unique data set that reports all prisoners released on parole between 1983 and 2003 in the U.S. We apply the outcome test methodology recently used to assess racial pro…ling in police search decisions. Here, a higher rate of parole violation within a group suggests that the parole board used a less restrictive paroling criterion, and is thus biased in favor of that group. To overcome the concern of inframarginality that traditionally plagues outcome tests we provide evidence that parole boards strategically time the release of parolees. In turn, both minority and white prisoners become marginal from the perspective of their probability of parole violation. Parole boards operating under an indeterminate sentencing regime appear biased against white prisoners whose violation rate is significantly smaller than that of African Americans. In contrast, this gap is smaller or null when there is no discretion in the paroling system. Further evidence rules out post-release discrimination. We propose different hypotheses to account for the evidence.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

working papers series


Download This Paper

Date posted: June 29, 2011 ; Last revised: October 21, 2011

Suggested Citation

Mechoulan, Stéphane and Sahuguet, Nicolas, Assessing Racial Discrimination in Parole Release (June 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1874251 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1874251

Contact Information

Stephane Mechoulan (Contact Author)
Dalhousie University ( email )
6100 University Avenue
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada
Nicolas Sahuguet
HEC Montreal - Institute of Applied Economics ( email )
3000, ch. de la Côte-Ste-Catherine
Montréal, Quebec H3T 2A7
Canada
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 419
Downloads: 55
Download Rank: 210,421
References:  67
Citations:  3

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo7 in 0.344 seconds