Research at Parole Board


Research and Development on Parole

Introduction

The Parole Board is committed to taking a more evidence-based approach to informing continuous improvement of policy and practice related to parole, and this includes outcomes and recommendations from good quality research and thematic studies.

The Parole Board is in a unique position and can provide access to its staff and members, sets of data and information that it owns, as well as access to policy and practice professionals.

As such, we have a published Research Framework which will ensure that research involving the Parole Board is conducted ethically and is of benefit to the Parole Board and the victims and prisoners with whom we work.

Data

We define ‘research involving the Parole Board’ as capturing any work which involves collecting information for research and/or evaluation purposes, which can include observing parole proceedings, access to decisions, or talking to our staff and members about their work.

Data that is routinely collected as part of the information for management, monitoring or audit purposes is also periodically published and this includes:

  • Data on caseload
  • Data on decisions
  • Data on delays

For information about what we do with personal data see our privacy notice

If you would like further information or data please contact us on the following email:

comms@paroleboard.gov.uk

It should be noted that access to data relating to prisoners and victims not owned by the Parole Board, or contact with individuals not working in any capacity for the Parole Board, will usually require approval through the appropriate routes within the Ministry of Justice or Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service.

Undertaking Research on Parole

High quality research can help improve practice and policy within the parole system. If research projects can be shown to be of benefit, we will consider supporting them by enabling access to our staff and members, case management data, and in some cases other individuals. We require that projects are conducted ethically, that there are appropriate safeguards in place to meet information assurance requirements, and that no individuals are identifiable within published research.

If you are interested in undertaking research related to parole and wish to access Parole Board data or people, you must first secure approval from the Parole Board Research Governance Group (RGG). The RGG will review the feasibility of your research and its relevance to the work of the Board.

The Management Committee has identified a number of current key priority areas which have been mapped against the Board’s organisational strategy to ensure they fit with business priorities, with a focus on the medium term.

Our current priorities are:

  • Small scale study outcomes for BAME or other minority group prisoners
  • Research into women’s experience of the parole system
  • Efficacy of remote hearings/comparison with face to face hearings
  • Procedural justice and parole
  • The experiences of vulnerable offenders

Applications that relate to any of the above are encouraged. However, studies in other areas will be considered where they would contribute to improving and/or better understanding of the parole process. The above list is therefore not a limiting range.

For your research to be considered by the RGG, please complete the research application form, after reading the Research Governance Framework.

The Framework provides information on what the RGG will be looking for when assessing applications and how decisions about applications are made.

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The application form can be downloaded here:

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Any researcher accessing our data or people will be required to sign our confidentiality and information assurance declaration.

Parole Board Research Application Form

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Please note the Parole Board cannot fund research and applications will need to set out in detail how funding will be secured. However, we can, where appropriate, support funding applications to other organisations.

If you are unsure whether your application will meet the criteria set out in the Framework or have any other questions about the process please contact us and we will assist where we can.

Research Governance Group (RGG)

The Research Governance Group (RGG) provides a forum for the organisation to take a more structured and strategic approach to research. The RGG meets formally twice a year, but will review research applications outside of formal meetings.

The Terms of Reference have now been published:

Research Governance Group ToR 2022

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Request an accessible format.

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Historical Research

Any studies are referenced here for information and are not necessarily an endorsement. Some key research findings that have taken place with the Parole Board for England and Wales are below:

PAROLE DECISION-MAKING: WEIGHING THE RISK TO THE PUBLIC

Roger Hood and Stephen Shute (1999)

AN EXPLORATION OF DECISION-MAKING AT DISCRETIONARY LIFER PANELS

Professor Nicola Padfield and Alison Liebling with Helen Arnold

Institute of Criminology

University of Cambridge (2000)

Parole Board Oral Hearings: Exploring the Barriers to Release – two part study

Professor Nicola Padfield Institute of Criminology University of Cambridge (2016/17)

The final reports can be found here:

Parole Board Oral Hearings 2016 - Exploring the Barriers to Release: Avoiding or Managing Risks? Report of a Pilot Study

Parole Board Oral Hearings 2016-2017 - Exploring the Barriers to Release: Stage Two of an Exploratory Study

There are a number of ongoing research studies that are due to conclude in the near future, and information will be added here, when available.

Any enquiries regarding research should be sent to Glenn Gathercole:

Glenn.Gathercole@paroleboard.gov.uk