2004 Regular Session
By: Representative Malone
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THE TERM "FIRST OFFENDER" FOR PURPOSES OF DETERMINING IF SUCH AN OFFENDER IS ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE; TO PROVIDE THAT ANY PERSON CONVICTED OF A DUI RESULTING IN DEATH OR SERIOUS BODILY INJURY SHALL SERVE 85% OF THE SENTENCE IMPOSED ON THAT PERSON; TO PROVIDE THAT THE PAROLE BOARD SHALL RECONSIDER AN APPLICATION FOR PAROLE FROM AN ELIGIBLE OFFENDER NO LATER THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE INITIAL APPLICATION IS REJECTED, UNLESS AN OFFENDER IS CONVICTED OF CERTAIN CRIMES; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DELETE THE REQUIREMENT THAT THE STATE PAROLE BOARD SHALL REVIEW CASES WHERE OFFENDERS HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH A SERIOUS ILLNESS; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-53, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS SHALL ASSUME THE DUTIES OF PAROLE BOARD IN THE EVENT IT IS ABOLISHED; 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, as amended by Senate Bill No. 2680, 2004 Regular Session, which became law after approval by the Governor, and House Bill No. 669, 2004 Regular Session, which is due from the Governor on May 4, 2004, 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, except that a first offender convicted of a nonviolent crime after January 1, 2000, may be eligible for parole if the offender meets the requirements in subsection (1) and this paragraph. In addition to other requirements, if a first offender is convicted of a drug or driving under the influence felony, the offender must complete a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program prior to parole or the offender may be required to complete a post-release drug and alcohol program as a condition of parole. For purposes of this paragraph, "nonviolent crime" means a felony other than homicide, robbery, manslaughter, sex crimes, arson, burglary of an occupied dwelling, aggravated assault, kidnapping, felonious abuse of vulnerable adults, felonies with enhanced penalties, the sale or manufacture of a controlled substance under the Uniform Controlled Substances Law, felony child abuse and a violation of 63-11-30 (5) resulting in death, or serious bodily injury resulting in the loss of a limb or dismemberment, loss of eyesight, a coma, permanent dysfunction of any vital organ, paralysis or resulting in an individual's permanent bedridden state. For purposes of this paragraph, "first offender" means a person who at the time of sentencing has not been convicted of a felony on a previous occasion in any court or courts of the United States or in any state or territory thereof.
(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) (a) 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.
(b) If an application for parole from an eligible offender is rejected, the Parole Board shall reconsider the application from that offender no later than one (1) year after the initial application for parole is rejected, unless the crime for which the offender was convicted is defined as a violent crime under subsection (2)(g) of this section.
This paragraph shall stand repealed on July 1, 2005.
(4) Any inmate within twenty-four (24) months of his parole eligibility date and who meets the criteria established by the classification board 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 47-7-5, 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. The Governor shall appoint the members with the advice and consent of the Senate. All terms shall be at the will and pleasure of the Governor. Any vacancy shall be filled by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Governor shall appoint a chairman of the 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.
(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. There shall be an executive secretary to the board who shall be responsible for all administrative and general accounting duties related to the board. The executive secretary shall keep and preserve all records and papers pertaining to the board.
(6) The board shall have no authority or responsibility for supervision of offenders granted a release for any reason, including, but not limited to, 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 Corrections of the department.
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(7) (a) The Parole Board shall maintain a central registry of paroled inmates. The Parole Board shall place the following information on the registry: name, address, photograph, crime for which paroled, the date of the end of parole or flat-time date and other information deemed necessary. The Parole Board shall immediately remove information on a parolee at the end of his parole or flat-time date.
(b) When a person is placed on parole, the Parole Board shall inform the parolee of the duty to report to the Parole Officer any change in address ten (10) days before changing address.
(c) The Parole Board shall utilize an Internet website or other electronic means to release or publish the information.
(d) Records maintained on the registry shall be open to law enforcement agencies and the public and shall be available no later than July 1, 2003.
(8) This section shall stand repealed on July 1, 2005.
SECTION 3. Section 47-7-53, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
47-7-53. If the Parole Board is abolished, 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 4. It is the intent that the amendments to Section 47-7-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, contained in this House Bill No. 668, 2004 Regular Session, shall supersede the amendments to Section 47-7-3, contained in Senate Bill No. 2680, 2004 Regular Session, and House Bill No. 669, 2004 Regular Session.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.