Despite nearly every U.S. state having created a parole system, incarcerated offenders do not have a constitutional right to early release on parole, and parole hearings do not automatically invoke due process. The resultant discretion afforded to parole decision-makers, coupled with the administrative regime’s relaxed evidentiary standards, risks erroneous, vindictive, or politically motivated information tainting release decisions. Louisiana, the world’s prison capital, has recently initiated parole reforms that may provide a model for reforms nationally. This article details the evolution of Louisiana’s parole release structures, highlights problems with discretionary parole-release decision-making, and proposes Louisiana pilot reforms that may transfer to parole release systems in the United States.
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