The Attrition of Rights Under Parole

91 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2013 Last revised: 26 Nov 2014

Date Written: August 18, 2013


We conduct a detailed doctrinal and empirical study of the adverse effects of parole on the constitutional rights of both individual parolees and the communities in which they live. We show that parolees’ Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights have been eroded by a multitude of punitive conditions endorsed by the courts. Punitive parole conditions actually increase parolees’ vulnerability to criminal elements, and thus likely worsen recidivism. Simultaneously, the parole system mitigates the rights of non-parolees: family, co-tenants, and communities more broadly. We show that police target parolee-dense neighborhoods for additional Terry stops, even when income, race, population and single-family status are accounted for. Furthermore, police take advantage of the permissive parole search jurisprudence, conducting more searches and arrests of both parolees and their non-parolee neighbors. Combined, this analysis shows that parole institutionalizes individuals and marginalizes communities.

Keywords: parole, criminal law, search & seizure, constitutional rights, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment, stops, frisk, search, arrest, empirical

JEL Classification: K00, K14

Suggested Citation

Jacobi, Tonja and Richardson, L. Song and Barr, Gregory, The Attrition of Rights Under Parole (August 18, 2013). 87 Southern California Law Review 887 (2014) , UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2014-37, Available at SSRN: or

Tonja Jacobi (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

L. Song Richardson

Colorado College ( email )

14 East Cache La Poudre Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
United States

Gregory Barr

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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