Utah Board of Pardons & Parole
Factors Considered in Decision Making
When the Board makes a decision after a hearing, their starting point is the court-ordered total minimum sentence. From there, the Board considers sentencing guidelines established by the Utah Sentencing Commission, as well as all information that sets each case and offender apart from others convicted of the same or similar crimes.
The following are examples of factors considered by the Board that are typically unique to each offender and related criminal activity:
The Board may view each of these factors as aggravating (negative for the individual) or mitigating (positive for the individual) when making an evaluation and comparing the totality of the individual’s behavior and public safety risk with others whose sentences are the same, but whose conduct, risks, and efforts at improvement may be very different.
The Board also considers these factors so that an individualized decision regarding each offender is specific to that individual. For example, the sentencing guideline for a 2nd degree felony burglary following a home invasion could be the same as the sentencing guideline for a second theft of a motor vehicle – yet the crimes and public safety impact are very different.
Not all of these factors are or will be present in every situation – and no single factor is controlling. The Board doesn’t simply compare or “total” these factors. Each of them are considered and weighed as the Board as a whole and individual Board Members determine whether, and when, to grant a prison release.