1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Huggins
Senate Bill 2248
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972 TO ABOLISH THE STATE PAROLE BOARD; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-53, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS TO ASSUME THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE PAROLE BOARD; 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) The State Parole Board, created under former Section 47-7-5, is hereby created, continued and reconstituted and shall be composed of five (5) members, one (1) from each congressional district. The members of the board appointed and serving on June 30, 1994, shall continue to serve and their terms shall be extended until July 1, 1995. On July 1, 1995, the board shall be reconstituted and shall be composed of three (3) members, one (1) from each of the Supreme Court districts. The Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint the three (3) members of the reconstituted board. The initial terms of the three (3) members of the reconstituted board shall expire on June 30, 1996. Thereafter, succeeding appointments shall be for a four-year term to begin on July 1, 1996, and expire 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 also designate one (1) of the members of the board as chairman.
(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, 1997.
SECTION 2. Section 47-7-53, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
47-7-53. On July 1, 1997, the Department of Corrections shall assume and exercise all the duties, powers and responsibilities of the State Parole Board. The Commissioner of Corrections may assign to the appropriate officers and divisions any powers and duties deemed appropriate to carry out the duties and powers of the Parole Board. Wherever the terms "State Parole Board" or "Parole Board" appear in any state law, they shall mean the Department of Corrections.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.