“[J]urisdictions would be well served to consider how they might incorporate successfully rehabilitated individuals into the ranks of their parole officials. If they truly believe that their parole systems are capable of rehabilitation, there is no better way to prove it.”

Top Points:

  1. Individuals with a criminal record could be particularly powerful role models as parole officers. While all parole officers can model law-abiding behavior, only one who shares a criminal past can provide an example of successful rehabilitation. This not only proves to a parolee that a return to prison is not inevitable, but showcases for him how to do it.
  2. Individuals with a criminal record struggle to get hired. The simple act by a parole department of hiring these individuals sends a powerful signal to private employers about the value of looking past a criminal record in hiring decisions. This very public vote of confidence in such individuals could help reduce the stigma of a criminal record and make parole officers more credible advocates on behalf of their parolees.
  3. Removing restrictions on parole positions for individuals with a criminal record is not as risky as it might first appear. Education and training requirements will ensure most individuals are outside of the high risk window that exists immediately following release. Additionally, they will be surrounded by other parole officers and the very act of helping others turn their lives around may help these parole officers to keep their own lives on track.

 

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