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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 Entanglement of Parole and Pardoning in the Progressive Era

The Entanglement of Parole and Pardoning in the Progressive Era

(p.145) 6 The Entanglement of Parole and Pardoning in the Progressive Era
Discretionary Justice

Carolyn Strange

NYU Press

The rise of the expert, emphasized in most histories of progressive penology, was marked in New York; however, this chapter draws on parole board hearing records to reveal the enduring personal nature of discretionary release. Whereas governors dispensed mercy according to traditional criteria (favoring persons of previous good character, the infirm, and prisoners for whom respectable citizens were willing to vouch), comportment and deference mattered in parole hearings. Above all the Parole Board’s discretion hinged on the promise of work (for men) and a stable home (for women). Gubernatorial clemency became a resort for individuals who could not qualify for parole, but governors continued to court controversy when individual pardons favored the rich and influential.

Keywords:   parole, indeterminate sentencing, Progressivism, deviance, gender, clemency, New York

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