Decision Making In The Criminal Justice System

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Prison population rates are the outcome of a complex interplay of factors, both external, intermediate and internal to the criminal justice system (Snacken, Beyens & Tubex, 1995). Penologists have for instance studied the influence on prison populations of economic and political systems (Lappi-Seppälä, 2011; Cavadino & Dignan, 2006), media coverage (Green, 2008), [eventueel aanvullen met andere studies naar externe/intermediaire factoren]. With regard to the internal factors – “attitudes and decisions made within the criminal justice system” (Snacken, 2007: 172) –, there is a need to study decision-making practices throughout all different phases of the criminal justice system. Bushway & Forst (2013), for instance, acknowledge this necessity,…show more content…
This is certainly not the case. In several countries, judicial or administrative bodies decide if and when an offender is granted early release, a decision-making process that is highly discretionary (Scheirs, 2016; King, 2013; Reitz, 2012; eventueel aanvullen met Europese bronnen). The revocation of early release measures too is the end result of a multifaceted procedure with different deciding stages, starting from the decision of the police or parole officer to report a new offence or violation of the conditions to the judicial or administrative body, that finally decides about the possible recall to prison. Penologists have only recently started to pay attention to this exercise of ‘back-end sentencing’ (Travis, 2007), demonstrating that the revocation of early release measures accounts for a substantial and growing number of re-incarcerations in several countries. In England and Wales, for instance, the number of revoked conditional releases has increased more than three or fourfold over the last years (Padfield, 2012; Collings, 2007; Padfield & Maruna, 2006). In the United States, parole violators accounted for 35% of the total number of incarcerations in 2008, compared to 18% in 1980 (Steen et al., 2013; Steen & Opsal, 2007). This sharp rise cannot only be explained by an increased reoffending of this group, as the most
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