Some high-risk prisoners on parole “beat the odds”: remaining in the community through their first year without incurring even minor reconvictions. What makes the difference? We investigated three potential mechanisms for postrelease survival—lower dynamic risk, greater readiness for parole, and earlier and longer parole oversight—in two samples: 120 men who had completed 8 to 12 months in an intensive treatment unit for high-risk prisoners, and 151 comparison prisoners who had received less or no treatment. Based on structural equation modeling, results indicated that treatment status (completer or comparison), and readiness for release each directly predicted when and for how long a prisoner would be on parole, which in turn predicted reconviction. Significant indirect pathways indicated that lower dynamic risk, better release readiness, and longer/earlier parole oversight all contributed to the lower rates of reconviction in high-risk prisoners, whether treated or not.

Devon L. L. Polaschek, Julia A. Yesberg, Preeti Chauhan
Criminal Justice and Behavior, January 24, 2018