Date of Award

1-1-2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Foster, John

Abstract

The Board does not administer hearings according to any structured interview schedule. Each member conducts the hearings he/she is assigned to by focusing on the facts of each case. Thus, hearing decisions are not routine or automatic. Furthermore, it became evident that even though Board members' hearing decisions are group decisions, members do not blindly sign the decision sheet without carefully perusing the circumstances surrounding each decision. Members trust each others' experience, but do not relinquish their own judgment. The DOC personnel argue at times that the Board tends to favor inmates in hearings; however, in my opinion, the Board adheres to the DOC personnel's recommendations in one way or another; and if anything, the process seems to favor the DOC staff heavily. For example, in hearings where the Board disagreed with the DOC personnel's recommendations, the members still revoked some good time credit despite the fact that they disagreed with what the DOC personnel felt is appropriate for certain misconduct. The Board members say that they are always trying to find a balance between inmates and DOC personnel's depiction of the misconduct in question. There are always two perspectives; one is to try and find a way to release a prisoner, and another is to find a way to keep that prisoner locked up. (193-194).

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