The System

Parole: High Risks, High Stakes

A look at the lives affected by parole boards’ decisions on who can leave prison and who is still a threat to society.

The American criminal justice system enforces our laws and keeps watch over us – but who is watching the system? Award-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger examines the state of America’s criminal justice system.


Always controversial, the role of parole boards have again been called into question in recent years, and swift policy changes have followed.

In this episode of The System, we examine the changing face of parole in Massachusetts and Connecticut and look at a few of the countless lives touched by these gatekeepers of justice: one man’s controversial journey through the Massachusetts department of corrections and another in Connecticut whose future will be decided with help from a new risk assessment tool.