SDMF Implementation and Revision Project

Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections
Posted on:

Application Deadline:

Expired

Type

Fellowships

Reference Number

22CS05

In recent years, interest in high-quality parole decision making processes has continued to grow significantly. Paroling authorities are always under considerable pressure and subject to substantial public and government scrutiny. This scrutiny is even more acute given the increase in crimes across the United States this past year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics reports that homicide rose 30% between 2019 and 2020. In response to increased public interest in the parole decision making process, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) developed, in collaboration with the Legal Decision-Making Lab of Carleton University, a tool designated as the Structured Decision Making Framework (SDMF) to improve decision making for paroling authorities responsible for releasing individuals into the community from prisons. This tool is a road map or guideline to help parole board members reach consistent, transparent, and defensible release decisions. The structured approach lays out the deliberation process for making parole decisions, considering information about an incarcerated individual that has been demonstrated to be closely linked to positive post-release performance. The SDMF tool’s use has been supported through research in Canada and in the United States by NIC. The research has demonstrated that using the SDMF increases both accuracy and accountability. Given the high stakes involved in parole decision making, even minimal improvements in the predictive accuracy can result in fewer victims and safer communities. The SDMF is a standardized and structured approach for the parole decision making process that has been validated. It is a due diligence model grounded in evidence-based practice. SDMF is designed for parole releasing authorities, its members, and related criminal justice stakeholders. The strength of the SDMF is its standardization of decision making criteria. The SDMF uses the following “domains” (criteria) for releasing decisions: criminal history/parole history; ability to control behavior; responsivity; institutional behavior; offender change; and release plans. The SDMF also considers other factors, such as victim and community input, that are relevant to an individual’s case or required by law. NIC has developed a specialized SDMF training and implementation program available to all paroling authorities in the United States. It is a part of NIC’s strategy to directly assist state and local jurisdictions to improve operations and services.
Categories: Other (see text field entitled "Explanation of Other Category of Funding Activity" for clarification).

More Information

Posted on:

Application Deadline:

Expired

Type

Fellowships

Reference Number

22CS05

United States