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Discretionary JusticePardon and Parole in New York from the Revolution to the Depression$
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Carolyn Strange

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479899920

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479899920.001.0001

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The Pardon and the Progenesis of Parole in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

The Pardon and the Progenesis of Parole in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

(p.87) 4 The Pardon and the Progenesis of Parole in the Mid-Nineteenth Century
Discretionary Justice

Carolyn Strange

NYU Press

Most histories of parole trace its roots to Australian and Irish precedents, overlooking the Prison Association of New York’s role in monitoring and assisting discharged prisoners, both males and females. This chapter explains how a philanthropic organization established in the mid-1840s promoted the reformatory ideal and the notion that the discharge of prisoners must be earned through moral reform. Its executive members, among the leading penal theorists of the nineteenth century, became the foremost critics of the pardon power as a personal mode of discretion in need of replacement by a court of review, bound by strict rules. Their campaign to do away with the gubernatorial prerogative faltered by the 1860s, but the Prison Association successfully sowed the seeds for the flowering of indeterminate sentencing and state parole in the Progressive Era.

Keywords:   parole, constitutional politics, moral reform, Prison Association of New York, penal politics, pardon, New York

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