Imposed Identities and Parole Agent Discretion

Danielle S. Rudes, University of California, Irvine

This study explores discretion among parole officers in their referrals of parolees to post-release employment services. Key in this process are normative images constructed by parole officers of parolees during officer-parolee interaction. These images are associated with roles adopted by officers and the types of referrals they offer parolees. These findings emerged from 25 in-depth interviews conducted with parole agents in the California Department of Corrections (CDC), direct observation of officer-parolee interaction and examination of departmental literature. The study raises questions about the role of social factors in legal decision-making and carries implications for understanding the normative stages of discretion in criminal justice contexts.

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Updated 05/20/2006