Parole Board Gave Inadequate Reentry Information, Delayed Risk and Needs Assessments to Parolees, Audit Shows

BOSTON– An audit released today by State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump revealed the Massachusetts Parole Board could not show that all parolees received necessary documents related to their reentry, including information about the terms and conditions of parole, and information about where the individual will be living upon release. Bump’s audit also found the Board had not conducted required risk reassessments for some parolees within mandated timeframes. In its response, MPB indicated it would take action to address these issues.

“Making sure individuals have the information they need to be successful upon reentry, such as where to report and conditions of release, as well as assessing risks and needs along the way are critical elements of a successful parole. It’s clear the Parole Board has provided expertise in assessing these individuals but was not always taking the required steps,” Bump said of the audit. “The success of individuals who have been granted parole is in the best interest of the public and partially hinges on the Parole Board’s diligence and oversight. I commend the Board for taking these findings seriously.”

During the audit (examined July 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019), of the 60 parolee case files reviewed, MPB could not verify that 18 had the necessary information regarding reentry agreement and conditions, including an official certificate of parole, plans for housing, and extradition. As a result, these individuals may have been unaware of the terms of their parole which could lead to violations. The audit also notes that MPB did not perform required six-month risk and needs reassessments for four parolees within the mandated timeframes, with one parolee going more than 12 months without being reviewed. The Board uses these reassessments to evaluate specific medical or mental healthcare needs and potential risks to develop individual strategies.

Additionally, the audit found no deficiencies in MPB’s implementation of the Smart Supervision Program, which provides enhanced supervision and treatment for parolees who have been identified as higher risk. In fiscal year 2017, the Board was awarded $738,344 in grant funding from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, and Bureau of Justice Assistance to help establish this program.

MPB, an agency within the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, oversees all incarcerated individuals in the state that have been released on parole. According to its 2019 annual statistical report, MPB conducted 4,294 release hearings for incarcerated individuals. The Board has seven members, all appointed by the Governor. In fiscal year 2020, MPB received $23,627,796 in state appropriations.

The audit of the Massachusetts Parole Board is available here. 

About the Office of the State Auditor
The Office of the State Auditor conducts performance audits of state government programs, departments, agencies, authorities, contracts, and vendors. With its reports, the OSA issues recommendations to improve accountability, efficiency, and transparency. The OSA has identified approximately $1.3 billion in unallowable, questionable, or potentially fraudulent spending and saving opportunities for the Commonwealth since 2011. Last year, auditees reported implementation of 92 percent of the OSA’s audit recommendations.

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