1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Furniss
Senate Bill 2841
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CREATE A FIVE-MEMBER PAROLE BOARD; TO PROVIDE AN EXECUTIVE SECRETARY TO HANDLE ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES; TO PROVIDE THAT THE BOARD SHALL ELECT A CHAIRMAN; TO PROVIDE FOR A JOINT STUDY COMMITTEE; 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 Governor shall appoint the members with the advice and consent of the Senate. The terms of the members serving on the board from Supreme Court districts shall expire on June 30, 1997. The three (3) members may be reappointed to the board. The * * * terms of the members of the reconstituted board shall * * * begin on July 1, 1997. All terms shall be coterminous with the term of the Governor. Any vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The board shall elect a chairman of the board annually. No member may serve consecutive terms 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. 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 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, 2000.
SECTION 2. (1) There is hereby created a Joint Study Committee on Parole. The committee shall study and make recommendations, including recommended legislation regarding the Parole Board, its mission and functions, coordination of parole policy, the coordination and delineation of parole functions between the Parole Board and the Department of Corrections and other matters related to the parole of state inmates.
(2) The committee shall be composed of the following members:
(a) The Senate Corrections Committee.
(b) The House Penitentiary Committee.
(c) The Chairman of the Senate Corrections Committee and the Chairman of the House Penitentiary Committee shall serve as co-chairs of the committee.
(3) The members of the joint committee shall be paid from the contingent expense funds of their respective houses in the same manner as provided for committee meetings when the Legislature is not in session and shall obtain the approval of their respective management committees for per diem and travel expense expenditures of the committee.
(4) The committee shall utilize clerical and legal staff employed by the Legislature and may utilize any assistance made available to it by any state agency.
(5) Upon presentation of its final report to the 1998 Mississippi Legislature, the committee shall be dissolved.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.