Publication Citation

4 (1) IUSTITIA 5 (1976)


An inmate at a federal penal institution "is entitled only to be released after full service of his sentence less good time earned during incarceration." He or she is not entitled to parole, for parole is not a right but a privilege, a matter of "legislative grace". The United States Board of Parole has "absolute discretion" in deciding whether and when to grant parole. The judiciary will not interfere with the Board, as "courts are without power to grant a parole or to determine judicially eligibility for parole." And since the Board is statutorily authorized to exercise broad discretion, and its "conclusions . . . are based upon numerous determinations of fact, and, more important, judgment, which in turn are influenced by personal observations that cannot be brought before a reviewing court," a "hands off" approach to judicial review of parole release decisionmaking has seemed warranted.

If, however, the above reasoning can be demonstrated to be invalid, and other forces militating toward a "hands off" policy are shown to be less than compelling, then non-reviewability of Board determinations would be neither desirable nor possible.