Learning the Ropes of Parole

This summer, I am an intern at the New Jersey State Parole Board (NJSPB) with their Community Programs Division (CPD). I have completed only a handful of days here yet have already gained a deeper understanding of parole. For example, I had the opportunity to sit in on a revocation hearing, which occurs when a parolee has violated a condition of their release. I also had the opportunity to observe a parole board hearing in which a prison inmate is eligible for parole. In this instance, the parole board decided to grant the defendant parole and require his participation in a community program. Both hearings exposed me to the prison population and gave me firsthand experience with what the NJSPB does.

In addition to observing two hearings, I have learned extensively about various community programs. These programs are offered or sometimes required for parolees based on needs, such as substance abuse or addiction counseling and mental health recovery. I have yet to visit these programs in person, which I hope to do soon. Still, new program ideas are often being proposed, and I have already had the chance to help brainstorm program ideas for different groups of offenders.

These community programs are about more than just compliance; rather, the goal is behavior and attitude change. Parole gives second chances, which everyone deserves. The CPD holds a positive mindset toward second chances, which I share, and have wanted to incorporate into my future career. Though I am not certain of my long-term career goals, my internship has reinforced my interest in offender rehabilitation and transition in the community.

New Jersey State Parole Board (NJSPB)
New Jersey State Parole Board (NJSPB)

Sydney Gero ’23
Criminal Justice

6 Replies to “Learning the Ropes of Parole”

  1. The emphasis on rehabilitation of an offender over punishment is an admirable aspect of working in parole. It is often tempting to hold a “lock them up and throw the key away” mentality when discussing how to treat those who break the law. Instead of holding this mentality, it is important to aim to change the behavior of offenders. It will be interesting to hear about your future experiences interning in parole.

  2. Hi Sydney,
    I enjoyed reading your post! Witnessing first-hand the inner-workings of the criminal justice system seems like a rewarding experience. I appreciated how you mentioned that parole gives second chances and I applaud you for considering the rehabilitation aspects of the criminal justice system as a possible career choice. Great work!

  3. Sydney,
    Your internship really sounds like it suits you well! Parole is something I haven’t known much about, so your post was extra informative to me. I like how you mention second chances, and I agree that parole can be a great thing to better people. I also loved hearing about the community programs, and I hope you get to see those more in depth! They sound very helpful and necessary to aid in parole. I’m so excited for you!

  4. Hi Sydney,
    I’m glad to hear you are having a good experience so far! That’s awesome how you got to observe those hearing only after interning for a couple of days. I hope you do get to see those programs and services offered to people on parole- I bet they would be very beneficial to see how that works. I hope you also get the chance to learn more about what you are thinking for your future career. Keep it up!

  5. Sydney,
    This internship sounds like a lot of what we learned in our Community-Based Corrections course back in the fall! It’s also super cool that they let you brainstorm new ideas for programs with them. I’m sure you’re offering great input and ideas for them!

  6. Sydney,
    This internship sounds like a lot of what we learned in our Community-Based Corrections course back in the fall! I completely agree with the point you made about these programs not just being about compliance. It’s so great that they’re allowing you to brainstorm ideas with them, that sounds so interesting! I’m sure you’re offering great input and ideas for them!

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