Parole system too simplistic; my proposed solution

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ble210
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Parole system too simplistic; my proposed solution

Postby ble210 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:37 pm

In light of the simplicity of the current parole system (just set it somewhere less than 23% and you’re good), I have a proposal that I will think make the system more interactive, realistic, and strategic, and will also reach a compromise between those that want a “top down” approach like it is now, and those that want a more granular system (i.e. those that want to determine the parole of each inmate individually).

Where I live, criminal offenders are given a score, and this score affects everything from sentencing to parole. It is a simple system; a high score is bad, and a low score is good. The total score for each person is generally made up of past criminal convictions and bad and good actions while incarcerated. So, let’s say a person is incarcerated for drug possession, worth 5 points. He has five prior convictions, each worth 1 point, bringing his total to 10. And he got caught fighting with another inmate while imprisoned, adding 2 points. His total is now 12. The parole board will use this score to determine whether or not he should be released early, and if their threshold is higher than 12, he will be paroled.

I think this system can be incorporated into Prison Architect rather easily. The player could set the point values for each crime, past conviction, and each instance of bad behavior while in prison (similar to choosing how long solitary confinement punishments are). You could choose the rate you want for each; you could make it so intoxication, for example, nets 1 point, 5 points, or whatever else you choose. You could also make it so that passing general education and other programs subtracts a certain number of points. The player then decides, much like the system is now, what the point threshold is in deciding whether or not an inmate should be released (say, for example, you choose that all inmates with a score less than 20 get paroled).

Along with incorporating this system, I think each inmate’s chance-to-reoffend score should be hidden from the player. Honestly, what prison has perfect information on an inmate’s future potential to reoffend? I also think that the “percentage of time spent intoxicated” and other inmate information should be hidden as well. By doing this, the player will have to experiment and tweak the point values for each instance of bad behavior until it roughly matches the (hidden) re-offense chance.

Where this adds strategy elements is that the player will never catch all instances of bad behavior. A poorly run prison may only catch a small percentage of contraband offenses or inmate-on-inmate assaults. If this is true, then the total point value for a prisoner, when up for parole, will be much lower than it ought to be, and therefore more inmates will be released who have high re-offense chances. The player, in this instance, would be faced with two options; 1) invest in greater security to better catch bad behavior, or 2) increase the point value for each offense, in the hope that it will also make up for missed instances where the inmate was doing something bad. In real life, prisons adopt a middle strategy between 1 and 2; they have a lot of security, but they also know that they only catch a small percentage of bad behavior, so when an inmate is caught, their score can go up pretty dramatically.

I hope I explained my idea well enough. I think it is much more realistic than the current system, and provides a whole lot more interaction for the player.
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Batpeter
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Re: Parole system too simplistic; my proposed solution

Postby Batpeter » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:01 am

Totally agree with hiding the re-offending chance for individual prisoners. Have it possible to see average expected re-offending chance for your different prisoner groups and/or your prisoner population as a whole.

Also implemented should be a way to accept or deny parole to individual prisoners. Make it costly, but possible to give parole to an especially dangerous inmate, or deny parole for some of your more valued inmates (such as informants, very peaceful high-sec prisoners). Just have each prisoner set to release according to parole policy by default but add a button or drop-down menu to change it to accept/deny this for an individual prisoner. Or set it to show a pop-up during the hearing allowing you to make your decision then.
I guess this is even possible now by adjusting the policy right before the hearing. Quite frankly, that would be a silly way to do it and it would also be solved by making the individual chance invisible for the player.

And are there any plans for staff corruption to be implemented? In this case, a corrupt Warden or Captain could change the expected outcome of a parole hearing. Also the lawyer could effect the outcome, based on the prisoner's traits or wealth or something. Right now why are they in a 4 hour parole meeting anyway, it's just comparing the re-offending chance to the parole policy, of which we know the exact value already.
Last edited by Batpeter on Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Roy974
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Re: Parole system too simplistic; my proposed solution

Postby Roy974 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:58 am

Yeah I agree the re-offending chance needs to be hidden and in its place a new switch where you can say highly recommend this prisoner to be accepted for early release which gives them a % bonus to been successful during their parole hearing. A little micromanagement but isn't needed to be done if you do not wish to. It just means your giving your feeling on any said prisoners that's all.
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Re: Parole system too simplistic; my proposed solution

Postby Robbedem » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:15 pm

I disagree. Hiding the re-offending chance is pointless because it's already a chance based statistic.
F.e. a prisoner with 5% reoffending chance can still reoffend, so wether he will actually return to crime is unknown anyway, so it doesn't need to be hidden.
Changing re-offending chance to a number is possible, but it would represent the same thing, so I don't really see the point in that either. Also the effect of catching crimes commited by prisoners versus not catching is already present in the current system by the lockdown/isolation punishment causing prisoners to be suppresed and adding to the security rating of that prisoner.

I would agree with having a minimum of about 5% re-offending chance and a maximum of about 95%, so we are never sure if a prisoner will commit crime or not when released.
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Re: Parole system too simplistic; my proposed solution

Postby ble210 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:51 pm

Robbedem wrote:I disagree. Hiding the re-offending chance is pointless because it's already a chance based statistic.
F.e. a prisoner with 5% reoffending chance can still reoffend, so wether he will actually return to crime is unknown anyway, so it doesn't need to be hidden.
Changing re-offending chance to a number is possible, but it would represent the same thing, so I don't really see the point in that either. Also the effect of catching crimes commited by prisoners versus not catching is already present in the current system by the lockdown/isolation punishment causing prisoners to be suppresed and adding to the security rating of that prisoner.

I would agree with having a minimum of about 5% re-offending chance and a maximum of about 95%, so we are never sure if a prisoner will commit crime or not when released.


My point is the reoffending rate is impossible to know it real life; you will never have that information. And I'm not suggesting changing it to a number- reread my post to see what I was saying. In short- the player creates a point system based on offenses, much like is done in real life prisons. The reoffend chance percentage remains hidden, and the player has to infer based upon the bad actions and points accrued (which may not actually match the reoffend percentage at all) whether or not the inmate is eligible for parole.
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Re: Parole system too simplistic; my proposed solution

Postby Robbedem » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:52 pm

Well, I read it again and let me see if I understand.
Currently this is the system:
- uncaught prisoners will not be punishment => security rating will be low => reoffending rate will stay the same => lower chance of parole
- caught prisoners will be punished => security rating goes up => reoffending rate goes down => higher chance of parole

Your proposal:
- uncaught prisoners, will not be punishment => security rating will be low => higher chance of (undeserved) parole
- caught prisoners will be punished => security rating goes up => lower chance of parole

So if I understood correctly, it basicly flips the chances of parole for prisoners in favor of those that are not caught instead of those that are punished for their misbehaviour.
While this seems logical, this could be a problem when prisoners with actual low reoffending chance will be more likely to remain in the prison, while prisoners with higher reoffending chance will be paroled. Ofcourse this problem only exists when the information is inaccurate. So it would have to be clear in the UI that parole is based on known information, while reoffending is based on actual information and it should also be explained on what information real reoffending chance is being determined as to not frustrate new players.

Also some time dependant factors are needed as in: an offense that happened weeks ago should not have as much influence as something that happened yesterday, because PA prisoners have no cause-effect behaviour (f.e.: they steal spoons, unrelated to the chance of getting caught)

So if I understand correctly, I am not against this implementation if done well, which would have to include either some time dependancy or better prisoner AI, and it would have to be explained so that new players can find out why they are getting so much fines for reoffending prisoners.
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Batpeter
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Re: Parole system too simplistic; my proposed solution

Postby Batpeter » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:20 pm

For me the first problem is that the decision on whether a prisoner is given parole or not is based on a known number:
1. You can set the parole policy before the hearing to give or deny a prisoner parole, which is micromanagement in an undesirable form.
2. There is a 4-hour parole meeting with the Warden, Captain, Lawyer and Prisoner. Completely unnecessary to have all those people there, the whole meeting does not have any use when we already know the exact re-offending chance.

The second problem with this whole system is that you can quite easily figure out what the parole policy should be to make sure you don't lose money on re-offending paroles. You say
F.e. a prisoner with 5% reoffending chance can still reoffend, so wether he will actually return to crime is unknown anyway, so it doesn't need to be hidden.
Don't forget that while the re-offending chance is a percentage, in the long run if you set the policy to 95% and lower, then at LEAST 95 out of 100 will not re-offend. Perhaps more, but not less, except for very unlucky players. 5% on one prisoner may result in an unlikely outcome but when you've sent a large number of prisoners on parole, 5% actually is a more or less fixed number. The margins will become smaller and smaller and it will be easy to figure out a profitable parole policy. I think it's a little weird to have the parole decision based on the same number as the fine/reward 'decision'.

By making the visible re-offending statistic a hidden value or an average value, it would make more sense to have this meeting and would discourage micromanaging it in this way. This would fix the first problem.

Another solution is to base the parole decision on some other statistic, or include more factors that can influence the decision. This would fix both problems.
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Re: Parole system too simplistic; my proposed solution

Postby ble210 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:57 pm

Robbedem wrote:So if I understood correctly, it basicly flips the chances of parole for prisoners in favor of those that are not caught instead of those that are punished for their misbehaviour.

While this seems logical, this could be a problem when prisoners with actual low reoffending chance will be more likely to remain in the prison, while prisoners with higher reoffending chance will be paroled. Ofcourse this problem only exists when the information is inaccurate. So it would have to be clear in the UI that parole is based on known information, while reoffending is based on actual information and it should also be explained on what information real reoffending chance is being determined as to not frustrate new players.


That's exactly right. And the problem you highlight is spot on, and intentional- it incentivizes making the prison more secure, and gathering accurate information on inmates. Will a player ever be able to get fully accurate information? No- and that's the point, because prisons in real life never do. And the point system as it exists in real-life is totally arbitrary. Sometimes the real bad inmates are good at avoiding detection, and relatively good inmates get caught, and are arbitrarily more severely punished.

I used to work in criminal defense. I once had a client (in jail, not prison, but the mechanics are the same) be pretty severely assaulted. The inmates that did it were pretty savvy, and chose a location with no cameras and no guards present. Because of that, they weren't punished. My client planned revenge, word got to the guards, and he was punished and upped to to the highest security level.

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