1997 Regular Session
To: Penitentiary; Appropriations
By: Representative Endt
House Bill 297
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CREATE THE NORTH MISSISSIPPI PAROLE BOARD AND THE SOUTH MISSISSIPPI PAROLE BOARD; TO PRESCRIBE THE JURISDICTION OF THE BOARDS; TO PRESCRIBE THE TERRITORY OF THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF THE STATE AND THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF THE STATE IN RELATION TO THE PAROLE SYSTEM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 47-7-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
47-7-5. (1) (a) From and after July 1, 1997, the State Parole Board, created under former Section 47-7-5 is created, continued and reconstituted and shall be composed of a total of six (6) members, three (3) appointed from the Northern District of the state and three (3) appointed from the Southern District of the state by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Northern District consists of all state territory located north of Highway 80, and the Southern District consists of all state territory located south of Highway 80. Members serving on the effective date of this act may be reappointed.
(b) The State Parole Board is divided into two (2) divisions, the North Parole Board, which consists of the three (3) members appointed from the Northern District of the state, and the South Parole Board, which consists of the three (3) members appointed from the Southern District of the state. The initial appointments are for a three-year term to begin on July 1, 1997, and expiring on July 1, 2000. Any vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Governor shall appoint one (1) member from the Northern District as chairman of the North Parole Board and one (1) member from the Southern District as chairman of the South Parole Board.
(c) The North Parole Board has jurisdiction over state offenders who are housed in any public or private correctional facility that is located in the Northern District of the state. The South Parole Board has jurisdiction over state offenders who are housed in any public or private correctional facility that is located in the Southern District of the state. If a member cannot be present during a meeting of either the North Parole Board or the South Parole Board, any other member of the State Parole Board may serve at the meeting in order to have three (3) members present at all board meetings. When the chairmen of the divisions agree that there are matters to be decided that affect the state parole system as a whole, the board will meet as one (1) board, and the two (2) chairmen shall serve as co-chairmen of the State Parole Board.
(2) Any person who is appointed to serve on the board shall possess at least a bachelor's degree or a high school diploma and four (4) years' work experience. Each member shall devote his full time to the duties of his office and shall not engage in any other business or profession or hold any other public office. A member shall not receive compensation or per diem in addition to his salary as prohibited under Section 25-3-38. Each member shall keep such hours and workdays as required of full-time state employees under Section 25-1-98. Individuals shall be appointed to serve on the board without reference to their political affiliations. Each board member, including the chairman, may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses as
authorized by Section 25-3-41; but a member shall not be reimbursed for travel expenses from his residence to the nearest state penitentiary. In addition, a member must use a state vehicle, if available, for travel and a member who refuses to use an available state vehicle shall not receive reimbursement for mileage expenses for use of a privately owned motor vehicle.
(3) The board shall have exclusive responsibility for the granting of parole as provided by Sections 47-7-3 and 47-7-17 and shall have exclusive authority for revocation of the same. The board shall have exclusive responsibility for investigating clemency recommendations upon request of the Governor.
(4) The board, its members and staff shall be immune from civil liability for any official acts taken in good faith and in exercise of the board's legitimate governmental authority.
(5) The budget of the board shall be funded through a separate line item within the general appropriation bill for the support and maintenance of the department. Employees of the department which are employed by or assigned to the board shall work under the guidance and supervision of the board.
(6) The board shall have no authority or responsibility for supervision of offenders granted probation, parole or executive clemency or other offenders requiring the same through interstate compact agreements. The supervision shall be provided exclusively by the staff of the Division of Community Services of the department.
(7) This section shall stand repealed on July 1, 2000.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.