2004 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Doxey
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 47-5-139, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REMOVE THE PROVISION ALLOWING THE RELEASE OF AN INMATE SENTENCED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT WHO IS 65 YEARS OLD AND WHO HAS SERVED AT LEAST 15 YEARS; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ALLOW PERSONS CONVICTED OF CERTAIN HOMICIDES TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE AFTER SERVING AT LEAST 25 YEARS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 47-5-139, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
47-5-139. (1) An inmate shall not be eligible for the earned time allowance if:
(a) The inmate was sentenced to life imprisonment; * * *
(b) The inmate was convicted as a habitual offender under Sections 99-19-81 through 99-19-87;
(c) The inmate has forfeited his earned time allowance by order of the commissioner;
(d) The inmate was convicted of a sex crime; or
(e) The inmate has not served the mandatory time required for parole eligibility for a conviction of robbery or attempted robbery with a deadly weapon.
(2) An offender under two (2) or more consecutive sentences shall be allowed commutation based upon the total term of the sentences.
(3) All earned time shall be forfeited by the inmate in the event of escape and/or aiding and abetting an escape. The commissioner may restore all or part of the earned time if the escapee returns to the institution voluntarily, without expense to the state, and without act of violence while a fugitive from the facility.
(4) Any officer or employee who shall willfully violate the provisions of this section and be convicted therefore shall be removed from office or employment.
SECTION 2. 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, 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, and felony child abuse; and
(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person who is convicted of murder, other than capital murder, may be eligible for parole if he meets the good conduct requirements under subsection (1) and has served not less than twenty-five (25) years.
(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 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 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.