1997 Regular Session
By: Representative Franks
House Bill 1585
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT NO PERSON SHALL BE ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE IF THE VICTIM OR A MEMBER OF THE VICTIM'S FAMILY OBJECTS TO THE OFFENDER BEING PAROLED; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-17, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 47-7-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
47-7-3. (1) Every prisoner who has been convicted of any offense against the State of Mississippi, and is confined in the execution of a judgment of such conviction in the Mississippi State Penitentiary for a definite term or terms of one (1) year or over, or for the term of his or her natural life, whose record of conduct shows that such prisoner has observed the rules of the penitentiary, and who has served not less than one-fourth (1/4) of the total of such term or terms for which such prisoner was sentenced, or, if sentenced to serve a term or terms of thirty (30) years or more, or, if sentenced for the term of the natural life of such prisoner, has served not less than ten (10) years of such life sentence, may be released on parole as hereinafter provided, except that:
(a) No prisoner convicted as a confirmed and habitual criminal under the provisions of Sections 99-19-81 through 99-19-87 shall be eligible for parole;
(b) Any person who shall have been convicted of a sex crime shall not be released on parole except for a person under the age of nineteen (19) who has been convicted under Section 97-3-67;
(c) No one shall be eligible for parole until he shall have served one (1) year of his sentence, unless such person has accrued any meritorious earned time allowances, in which case he shall be eligible for parole if he has served (i) nine (9) months of his sentence or sentences, when his sentence or sentences is two (2) years or less; (ii) ten (10) months of his sentence or sentences when his sentence or sentences is more than two (2) years but no more than five (5) years; and (iii) one (1) year of his sentence or sentences when his sentence or sentences is more than five (5) years;
(d) (i) No person shall be eligible for parole who shall, on or after January 1, 1977, be convicted of robbery or attempted robbery through the display of a firearm until he shall have served ten (10) years if sentenced to a term or terms of more than ten (10) years or if sentenced for the term of the natural life of such person. If such person is sentenced to a term or terms of ten (10) years or less, then such person shall not be eligible for parole. The provisions of this paragraph (d) shall also apply to any person who shall commit robbery or attempted robbery on or after July 1, 1982, through the display of a deadly weapon. This subparagraph (d)(i) shall not apply to persons convicted after September 30, 1994;
(ii) No person shall be eligible for parole who shall, on or after October 1, 1994, be convicted of robbery, attempted robbery or carjacking as provided in Section 97-3-115 et seq., through the display of a firearm or drive-by shooting as provided in Section 97-3-109. The provisions of this subparagraph (d)(ii) shall also apply to any person who shall commit robbery, attempted robbery, carjacking or a drive-by shooting on or after October 1, 1994, through the display of a deadly weapon;
(e) No person shall be eligible for parole who, on or after July 1, 1994, is charged, tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole under the provisions of Section 99-19-101;
(f) No person shall be eligible for parole who is charged, tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment under the provisions of Section 99-19-101;
(g) No person shall be eligible for parole who is convicted or whose suspended sentence is revoked after June 30, 1995.
(h) No person shall be eligible for parole if the victim of the crime committed by the offender or a member of the victim's family objects to the offender being paroled.
(i) An offender may be eligible for medical release under Section 47-7-4.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an inmate shall not be eligible to receive earned time, good time or any other administrative reduction of time which shall reduce the time necessary to be served for parole eligibility as provided in subsection (1) of this section; however, this subsection shall not apply to the advancement of parole eligibility dates pursuant to the Prison Overcrowding Emergency Powers Act. Moreover,
meritorious earned time allowances may be used to reduce the time necessary to be served for parole eligibility as provided in paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of this section.
(3) The State Parole Board shall by rules and regulations establish a method of determining a tentative parole hearing date for each eligible offender taken into the custody of the Department of Corrections. The tentative parole hearing date shall be determined within ninety (90) days after the department has assumed custody of the offender. Such tentative parole hearing date shall be calculated by a formula taking into account the offender's age upon first commitment, number of prior incarcerations, prior probation or parole failures, the severity and the violence of the offense committed, employment history and other criteria which in the opinion of the board tend to validly and reliably predict the length of incarceration necessary before the offender can be successfully paroled.
(4) Any inmate within twenty-four (24) months of his parole eligibility date and who meets the criteria established by the classification committee shall receive priority for placement in any educational development and job training programs. Any inmate refusing to participate in an educational development or job training program may be ineligible for parole.
SECTION 2. Section 47-7-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
47-7-17. Within one (1) year after his admission and at such intervals thereafter as it may determine, the board shall secure and consider all pertinent information regarding each offender, except any under sentence of death or otherwise ineligible for parole, including the circumstances of his offense, his previous social history, his previous criminal record, including any records of law enforcement agencies or of a youth court regarding that offender's juvenile criminal history, his conduct, employment and attitude while in the custody of the department, and the reports of such physical and mental examinations as have been made. The board shall furnish at least three (3) months' written notice to each such offender of the date on which he is eligible for parole.
Before ruling on the application for parole of any offender, the board may have the offender appear before it and interview him. The hearing shall be held two (2) months prior to the month of eligibility in order for the department to address any special conditions required by the board. No application for parole of a person convicted of a capital offense shall be considered by the board unless and until notice of the filing of such application shall have been published at least once a week for two (2) weeks in a newspaper published in or having general circulation in the county in which the crime was committed. The board shall also give notice of the filing of the application for parole to the victim of the offense for which the prisoner is incarcerated and being considered for parole or, in case the offense be homicide, a designee of the immediate family of the victim, provided the victim or designated family member has furnished in writing a current address to the board for such purpose. A parole shall be ordered only for the best interest of society, not as an award of clemency; it shall not be considered to be a reduction of sentence or pardon. An offender shall be placed on parole only when arrangements have been made for his proper employment or for his maintenance and care, and when the board believes that he is able and willing to fulfill the obligations of a law-abiding citizen. Within forty-eight (48) hours prior to the release of an offender on parole, the Director of Records of the department shall give the written notice which is required pursuant to Section 47-5-177. Every offender while on parole shall remain in the legal custody of the department from which he was released and shall be amenable to the orders of the board. The board, upon rejecting the application for parole of any offender, shall within thirty (30) days following such rejection furnish that offender in general terms the reasons therefor in writing. Upon determination by the board that an offender is eligible for release by parole, notice shall also be given by the board to the victim of the offense or the victim's family member, as indicated above, regarding the date when the offender's release shall occur, provided a current address of the victim or the victim's family member has been furnished in writing to the board for such purpose.
Failure to provide notice to the victim or the victim's family member of the filing of the application for parole or of any decision made by the board regarding parole shall not
constitute grounds for vacating an otherwise lawful parole determination nor shall it create any right or liability, civilly or criminally, against the board or any member thereof.
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The board may adopt such other rules not inconsistent with law as it may deem proper or necessary with respect to the eligibility of offenders for parole, the conduct of parole hearings, or conditions to be imposed upon parolees, including a condition that the parolee submit, as provided in Section 47-5-601 to any type of breath, saliva or urine chemical analysis test, the purpose of which is to detect the possible presence of alcohol or a substance prohibited or controlled by any law of the State of Mississippi or the United States. The board shall have the authority to adopt rules permitting certain offenders to be placed on unsupervised parole. However, in no case shall an offender be placed on unsupervised parole before he has served a minimum of three (3) years of supervised parole.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.