Individualizing Risk: Moral Judgement, Professional Knowledge and Affect in Parole Evaluations

Criminal justice professionals rely less on risk assessments than is presumed. This article uses qualitative research with parole agents in California to better understand how risk is assessed and defined for people with criminal records. The author found that parole agents rely on three types of information: the criminal history record, the formal risk assessment, and their own judgement based on interactions with the person on parole. However, contrary to the belief that risk assessments are the prioritized form of information, the study found that most parole agents favor their personal judgement when assessing a person's risk level.


Werth, R. (2017). Individualizing Risk: Moral Judgement, Professional Knowledge and Affect in Parole Evaluations. The British Journal of Criminology, 57(4), 808–827. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azw025

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Open Access Source: https://booksc.org/book/52603912/17f3f3

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