Bill Text: MS SB2067 | 2020 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Meritorious earned-time credits; revise application of in relation to parole-eligibility date.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-01-16 - Referred To Judiciary, Division B;Corrections [SB2067 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2020-SB2067-Introduced.html

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2020 Regular Session

To: Judiciary, Division B; Corrections

By: Senator(s) Hopson

Senate Bill 2067

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT MERITORIOUS EARNED TIME MAY BE USED TO REDUCE THE TIME REQUIRED TO BE SERVED FOR PAROLE ELIGIBILITY; TO SPECIFY THAT ONLY THOSE OFFENDERS WHO ARE OTHERWISE ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE CONSIDERATION MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE REDUCTION IN TIME TO BE SERVED; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-3.2, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE MINIMUM PERCENTAGE OF THE SENTENCE THAT MUST BE SERVED BEFORE OFFENDERS MAY BE RELEASED FROM THE CUSTODY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, TO CONFORM; TO AMEND SECTION 47-5-142, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH AUTHORIZES THE AWARD OF MERITORIOUS EARNED-TIME ALLOWANCES, TO CONFORM; 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, 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 Department of Corrections 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 department, 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)  (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 (c)(i) 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 paragraph (c)(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 paragraph (c)(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.  This paragraph (c)(ii) shall not apply to persons convicted after July 1, 2014;

          (d)  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;

          (e)  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;

          (f)  No person shall be eligible for parole who is convicted or whose suspended sentence is revoked after June 30, 1995, except that an offender convicted of only nonviolent crimes after June 30, 1995, may be eligible for parole if the offender meets the requirements in this subsection (1) and this paragraph (f).  In addition to other requirements, if an 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, except enhanced penalties for the crime of possession of a controlled substance under Section 41-29-147, the sale or manufacture of a controlled substance under the Uniform Controlled Substances Law, felony child abuse, or exploitation or any crime under Section 97-5-33 or Section 97-5-39(2) or 97-5-39(1)(b), 97-5-39(1)(c) or a violation of Section 63-11-30(5).  In addition, an offender incarcerated for committing the crime of possession of a controlled substance under the Uniform Controlled Substances Law after July 1, 1995, including an offender who receives an enhanced penalty under the provisions of Section 41-29-147 for such possession, shall be eligible for parole.  An offender incarcerated for committing the crime of sale or manufacture of a controlled substance shall be eligible for parole after serving one-fourth (1/4) of the sentence imposed by the trial court.  This paragraph (f) shall not apply to persons convicted on or after July 1, 2014;

          (g)  (i)  No person who, on or after July 1, 2014, is convicted of a crime of violence pursuant to Section 97-3-2, a sex crime or an offense that specifically prohibits parole release * * *, shall be eligible for parole.  All persons convicted of any other offense on or after July 1, 2014, are eligible for parole after they have served one-fourth (1/4) of the sentence or sentences imposed by the trial court.

              (ii)  Notwithstanding the provisions in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph (g), a person serving a sentence who has reached the age of sixty (60) or older and who has served no less than ten (10) years of the sentence or sentences imposed by the trial court shall be eligible for parole.  Any person eligible for parole under this subsection shall be required to have a parole hearing before the board prior to parole release.  No inmate shall be eligible for parole under this subparagraph (ii) of this * * * subsection paragraph (g) if:

                   1.  The inmate is sentenced as a habitual offender under Sections 99-19-81 through 99-19-87;

                   2.  The inmate is sentenced for a crime of violence under Section 97-3-2;

                   3.  The inmate is sentenced for an offense that specifically prohibits parole release;

                   4.  The inmate is sentenced for trafficking in controlled substances under Section 41-29-139(f);

                   5.  The inmate is sentenced for a sex crime; or

                   6.  The inmate has not served one-fourth (1/4) of the sentence imposed by the court.

              (iii)  Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subsection, any offender who has not committed a crime of violence * * * under listed in Section 97-3-2 and has served twenty-five percent (25%) or more of his sentence may be paroled by the parole board if * * *, after the sentencing judge or, if the sentencing judge is retired, disabled or incapacitated, the senior circuit judge, authorizes the offender to be eligible for parole consideration;

          (h)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an inmate who has not been convicted as a habitual offender under Sections 99-19-81 through 99-19-87, has not been convicted of committing a crime of violence, as defined under Section 97-3-2, has not been convicted of a sex crime or any other crime that specifically prohibits parole release, and has not been convicted of drug trafficking under Section 41-29-139 is eligible for parole if the inmate has served twenty-five percent (25%) or more of his or her sentence, but is otherwise ineligible for parole.

     (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 would reduce the time necessary to be served for parole eligibility as provided in subsection (1) of this section, except that meritorious earned-time allowances may be used to reduce the time necessary to be served for parole eligibility as provided in subsection (1)(f) and (h) and subsection (1)(g)(i) 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.  The parole hearing date shall occur when the offender is within thirty (30) days of the month of his parole eligibility date.  Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the parole eligibility date shall not be earlier than one-fourth (1/4) of the prison sentence or sentences imposed by the court.

     (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 that are part of his or her parole case plan.  Any inmate refusing to participate in an educational development or job training program that is part of the case plan may be in jeopardy of noncompliance with the case plan and may be denied parole.

     SECTION 2.  Section 47-7-3.2, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     47-7-3.2.  (1)  Notwithstanding Sections 47-5-138, 47-5-139 * * *, or 47-5-138.1 * * * or 47-5-142, no person convicted of a criminal offense on or after July 1, 2014, shall be released by the department until he or she has served no less than fifty percent (50%) of a sentence for a crime of violence * * * pursuant to as defined in Section 97-3-2 or twenty-five percent (25%) of any other sentence imposed by the court. 

     (2)  This section shall not apply to:

          (a)  Offenders sentenced to life imprisonment;

          (b)  Offenders convicted as habitual offenders * * * pursuant to under Sections 99-19-81 through 99-19-87;

          (c)  Offenders serving a sentence for a sex offense; or

          (d)  Offenders serving a sentence for trafficking pursuant to Section 41-29-139(f).

     SECTION 3.  Section 47-5-142, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     47-5-142.  (1)  In order to provide incentive for offenders to achieve positive and worthwhile accomplishments for their personal benefit or the benefit of others, and in addition to any other administrative reductions of the length of an offender's sentence, any offender shall be eligible, subject to the provisions of this section, to receive meritorious earned time as distinguished from earned time for good conduct and performance.  Meritorious earned time may be used to reduce the time necessary to be served for parole eligibility as provided in Section 47-7-3(2).

     (2)  Subject to approval by the commissioner of the terms and conditions of the program or project, meritorious earned time may be awarded for the following:  (a) successful completion of educational or instructional programs; (b) satisfactory participation in work projects; and (c) satisfactory participation in any special incentive program.

     (3)  The programs and activities through which meritorious earned time may be received shall be published in writing and posted in conspicuous places at all facilities of the department and such publication shall be made available to all offenders in the custody of the department.

     (4)  The commissioner shall make a determination of the number of days of reduction of sentence which may be awarded an offender as meritorious earned time for participation in approved programs or projects; the number of days shall be determined by the commissioner on the basis of each particular program or project.

     (5)  No offender shall be awarded any meritorious earned time while assigned to the maximum security facilities for disciplinary purposes.

     (6)  All meritorious earned time shall be forfeited by the offender in the event of escape and/or aiding and abetting an escape.

     (7)  Any officer or employee of the department who shall willfully violate the provisions of this section and be convicted therefor shall be removed from office or employment.

     (8)  An offender may forfeit all or any part of his meritorious earned-time allowance for just cause upon the written order of the commissioner, or his designee.  Any meritorious earned-time allowance forfeited under this section shall not be restored nor shall it be re-earned by the offender.

     SECTION 4.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2020.


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