The Parole Release and Revocation Project launched a national survey of paroling authorities across the United States in 2015. Preliminary results from the survey has allowed the Parole Project team to examine changing and current practices regarding how paroling authorities use risk assessment tools to determine release from prison. This brief covers three surveys, including surveys conducted by the Association of Paroling Authorities International, and spans twenty-five years. This brief is the first in a series of briefs that will be released in the coming months. As additional states respond to the 2015 survey, the results will be updated.
The current data show that, over the last 25 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of states that use risk assessment tools when making a release decision. In addition, the majority of parole board chairs surveyed reported that actuarial tools are essential to making informed decisions about parole release and contribute to greater public safety in release decisions. The types of risk assessments used at release have changed since 2008, with substantial increases in the use of the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) and the Static-99, the two most commonly used tools at release.