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How do parole board members in England and Wales decide whether to release men who have perpetrated domestic violence against women?

Dyke, Chris; (2022) How do parole board members in England and Wales decide whether to release men who have perpetrated domestic violence against women? Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis uses a novel methodology to understand parole decisions about perpetrators of domestic violence in England and Wales as complex adaptive systems. It informs victims, parole board members, researchers, and policymakers about the nature of decisions for this group of offenders. Existing research examines correlations between case variables and the outcome of a hearing and explores the thought processes of board members. But no previous studies explored parole decisions specifically about perpetrators of domestic violence, and few have examined other parole decisions in England and Wales. This research examines the variables associated with a release decision for a prisoner whose sole or primary risk involves domestic violence, and the dynamics behind any associations. I explore whether the nature of domestic violence requires a specific approach to decision-making and whether this is reflected in the results. My novel use of a primary dataset of 137 parole decisions, coded from decision letters, draws on a positivist tradition, while my thematic analysis of 20 interviews with parole board members takes an interpretivist approach. I develop the data into a systems model of the parole decision. My findings show that recommendations from the offender supervisor, offender manager and especially the psychologist are such a strong predictor of the decision that they amount to an effective ‘veto’ on release. Perpetrator programmes are important only insofar as an offender’s refusal to attend suggests a lack of insight. Parole boards are more concerned with risk manageability than risk level and are less likely to release offenders with a history of ‘less manageable’ controlling behaviour. This research shows that parole boards are influenced by domestic violence research, by structural factors and nature of offending, and that the underlying variables associated with release as determined through the mixed methods analysis are subtly different to those they emphasise consciously.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: How do parole board members in England and Wales decide whether to release men who have perpetrated domestic violence against women?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10146386
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