MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

1998 Regular Session

To: Penitentiary

By: Representative Malone

House Bill 805

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 47-5-138, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT ANY SENTENCE IMPOSED AFTER JUNE 30, 1998, FOR A CRIME OF VIOLENCE SHALL NOT RECEIVE EARNED TIME ALLOWANCE IN EXCESS OF FIFTEEN PERCENT OF THE OFFENDER'S TERM OF SENTENCE; TO DEFINE "CRIME OF VIOLENCE"; TO PROVIDE THAT ANY OFFENDER WHO HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF TWO OR MORE NONVIOLENT CRIMES SHALL NOT RECEIVE EARNED TIME ALLOWANCE IN EXCESS OF FIFTEEN PERCENT OF THE OFFENDER'S TERM OF SENTENCE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES. 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. Section 47-5-138, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

47-5-138. (1) The department may promulgate rules and regulations to carry out an earned time allowance program based on the good conduct and performance of an inmate. An inmate is eligible to receive an earned time allowance of one-half (1/2) of the period of confinement imposed by the court except those inmates excluded by law. When an inmate is committed to the custody of the department, the department shall determine a conditional earned time release date by subtracting the earned time allowance from an inmate's term of sentence. This subsection does not apply to any sentence imposed after June 30, 1998, for a crime of violence as defined in subsection (8) of this section. This subsection also does not apply to any sentence imposed on an offender who has been convicted of two or more nonviolent crimes.

(2) An inmate may forfeit all or part of his earned time allowance for a serious violation of rules. No forfeiture of the earned time allowance shall be effective except upon approval of the commissioner or his designee, and forfeited earned time may not be restored.

(3) (a) For the purposes of this subsection, "final order" means an order of a state or federal court that dismisses as frivolous or malicious a lawsuit brought by an inmate while the inmate was in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

(b) On receipt of a final order, the department shall forfeit:

(i) Sixty (60) days of an inmate's accrued earned time if the department has received one (1) final order as defined herein;

(ii) One hundred twenty (120) days of an inmate's accrued earned time if the department has received two (2) final orders as defined herein;

(iii) One hundred eighty (180) days of an inmate's accrued earned time if the department has received three (3) or more final orders as defined herein.

(c) The department may not restore earned time forfeited under this subsection.

(4) An inmate who meets the good conduct and performance requirements of the earned time allowance program may be released on his conditional earned time release date.

(5) For any sentence imposed after June 30, 1998, for a crime of violence as defined in subsection (8) of this section, an inmate may receive an earned time allowance of four and one-half (4-1/2) days for each thirty (30) days served if the department determines that the inmate has complied with the good conduct and performance requirements of the earned time allowance program. The earned time allowance under this subsection shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of an inmate's term of sentence. This subsection shall apply to any sentence imposed on an offender who has been convicted of two or more nonviolent crimes.

(6) Any inmate, who is released before the expiration of his term of sentence under this section, shall be placed under earned-release supervision until the expiration of the term of sentence. The inmate shall retain inmate status and remain under the jurisdiction of the department. The period of earned-release supervision shall be conducted in the same manner as a period of supervised parole. The department shall develop rules, terms and conditions for the earned-release supervision program. The commissioner shall designate the appropriate classification committee or other division within the department to conduct revocation hearings for inmates violating the conditions of earned-release supervision.

(7) If the earned-release supervision is revoked, the inmate shall serve the remainder of the sentence and the time the inmate was on earned-release supervision, shall not be applied to and shall not reduce his sentence.

(8) For the purposes of this section, "crime of violence" means any crime which results in death or physical harm to another, or an attempt to cause death or physical harm to another.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.