Bill Text: MS SB2132 | 2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: The Juvenile Offender Parole and Rehabilitation Act; enact.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-01-08 - Referred To Judiciary, Division B [SB2132 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2021-SB2132-Introduced.html

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2021 Regular Session

To: Judiciary, Division B

By: Senator(s) Simmons (12th)

Senate Bill 2132

AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE JUVENILE OFFENDER PAROLE AND REHABILITATION ACT; TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE PAROLE BOARD TO DETERMINE WHETHER A JUVENILE OFFENDER MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE AND REHABILITATION; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-2, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE AGE OF ADULTHOOD; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE PAROLE ELIGIBILITY FOR JUVENILE OFFENDERS; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-3.2, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXEMPT JUVENILE OFFENDERS FROM TIME-SERVED PAROLE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS; TO CREATE SECTION 47-7-3.3, TO CREATE A CASE PLAN FOR JUVENILE OFFENDERS; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE PAROLE BOARD TO GRANT PAROLE TO JUVENILE OFFENDERS; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE AN AFFIRMATIVE VOTE BY THE PAROLE BOARD TO GRANT PAROLE TO JUVENILE OFFENDERS; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXEMPT DECISIONS ON PAROLE ELIGIBILITY OF JUVENILE OFFENDERS BY PAROLE BOARD FROM MAJORITY VOTE; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-17, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE PAROLE BOARD TO ORDER PSYCHIATRIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS WHEN NECESSARY; TO AMEND SECTION 47-7-18, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROHIBIT THE RELEASE ON PAROLE OF JUVENILE OFFENDERS WITHOUT A HEARING BEFORE THE BOARD; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

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

     SECTION 1.  This act shall be known and may be cited as "The Juvenile Offender Parole and Rehabilitation Act."

     SECTION 2.  The Legislature finds that:

          (a)  The United States Supreme Court in Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48, 75 (2010), categorically barred life-without-parole sentences for juveniles convicted of nonhomicide offenses, and required that such offenders be provided a "meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation";

          (b)  The United States Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718, 734 (2016), "bar[red] life without parole … for all but the rarest of juvenile [homicide] offenders, those whose crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility," and held that all other juvenile homicide offenders must be provided a "meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation," Miller, 567 U.S. at 479 (quoting Graham, 560 U.S. at 75);

          (c)  Provisions of the parole statute violate Graham, Miller, and Montgomery, by prohibiting parole for juvenile offenders convicted of certain crimes;

          (d)  The Mississippi State Supreme Court recognized more than six (6) years ago that "our present statutory scheme does not meet the requirements of Miller," and thus the court found itself "compelled by necessity to put into place a stopgap measure, seeking the minimal amount of instruction and intrusion into legislative prerogative, until such time as the Legislature can convene and ameliorate [the Court's] temporary but required solution," Parker v. State, 119 So. 3d 987, 998 (¶ 25) (Miss. 2013);

          (e)  It is unreasonable to ask trial courts and juries to determine, at the time of sentencing, whether a juvenile offender is permanently incorrigible, as "[i]t is difficult even for expert psychologists to differentiate between the juvenile offender whose crime reflects unfortunate yet transient immaturity, and the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption," Graham, 560 U.S. at 68 (citation omitted);

          (f)  The Parole Board, reviewing a juvenile offender's corrections record years after the crime, is in a better position to determine whether a juvenile offender can be, and has been, rehabilitated;

          (g)  The United States Supreme Court has stated that "[a] State may remedy a Miller violation by permitting juvenile homicide offenders to be considered for parole, rather than by resentencing them," and explained that "[a]llowing those offenders to be considered for parole ensures that juveniles whose crimes reflected only transient immaturity—and who have since matured—will not be forced to serve a disproportionate sentence in violation of the Eighth Amendment," Montgomery, 136 S.Ct. at 736;

          (h)  Parole eligibility encourages good behavior and participation in rehabilitative programming, while also ensuring that juvenile offenders will remain in prison unless and until they demonstrate to the Parole Board that they are willing and able to fulfill the obligations of a law-abiding citizen;

          (i)  Therefore, it is necessary and appropriate for the Legislature to amend the parole statute to ensure that all juvenile offenders are provided a "meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation," and to amend related statutes to ensure that all juvenile offenders are provided appropriate rehabilitative and educational programming.

     SECTION 3.  Section 47-7-2, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     47-7-2.  For purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the meaning ascribed herein unless the context shall otherwise require:

          (a)  "Adult" means a person who is * * * seventeen (17) eighteen (18) years of age or older, or any person convicted of any crime not subject to the provisions of the youth court law, or any person "certified" to be tried as an adult by any youth court in the state.

          (b)  "Board" means the State Parole Board.

          (c)  "Parole case plan" means an individualized, written accountability and behavior change strategy developed by the department in collaboration with the Parole Board to prepare offenders for release on parole at the parole eligibility date.  The case plan shall focus on the offender's criminal risk factors that, if addressed, reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

          (d)  "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of

Corrections.

          (e)  "Correctional system" means the facilities, institutions, programs and personnel of the department utilized for adult offenders who are committed to the custody of the department.

          (f)  "Criminal risk factors" means characteristics that increase a person's likelihood of reoffending.  These characteristics include:  antisocial behavior; antisocial personality; criminal thinking; criminal associates; dysfunctional family; low levels of employment or education; poor use of leisure and recreation; and substance abuse.

          (g)  "Department" means the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

          (h)  "Detention" means the temporary care of juveniles and adults who require secure custody for their own or the community's protection in a physically restricting facility prior to adjudication, or retention in a physically restricting facility upon being taken into custody after an alleged parole or probation violation.

          (i)  "Discharge plan" means an individualized written document that provides information to support the offender in meeting the basic needs identified in the pre-release assessment.  This information shall include, but is not limited to:  contact names, phone numbers, and addresses of referrals and resources.

          (j)  "Evidence-based practices" means supervision policies, procedures, and practices that scientific research demonstrates reduce recidivism.

          (k)  "Facility" or "institution" means any facility for the custody, care, treatment and study of offenders which is under the supervision and control of the department.

          (l)  "Juvenile," "minor" or "youthful" means a person less than * * * seventeen (17) eighteen (18) years of age.

          (m)  "Offender" means any person convicted of a crime or offense under the laws and ordinances of the state and its political subdivisions.

          (n)  "Pre-release assessment" means a determination of an offender's ability to attend to basic needs, including, but not limited to, transportation, clothing and food, financial resources, personal identification documents, housing, employment, education, and health care, following release.

          (o)  "Special meetings" means those meetings called by the chairman with at least twenty-four (24) hours' notice or a unanimous waiver of notice.

          (p)  "Supervision plan" means a plan developed by the community corrections department to manage offenders on probation and parole in a way that reduces the likelihood they will commit a new criminal offense or violate the terms of supervision and that increases the likelihood of obtaining stable housing, employment and skills necessary to sustain positive conduct.

          (q)  "Technical violation" means an act or omission by the probationer that violates a condition or conditions of probation placed on the probationer by the court or the probation officer.

          (r)  "Transitional reentry center" means a state-operated or state-contracted facility used to house offenders leaving the physical custody of the Department of Corrections on parole, probation or post-release supervision who are in need of temporary housing and services that reduce their risk to reoffend.

          (s)  "Unit of local government" means a county, city, town, village or other general purpose political subdivision of the state.

          (t)  "Risk and needs assessment" means the determination of a person's risk to reoffend using an actuarial assessment tool validated on Mississippi corrections populations and the needs that, when addressed, reduce the risk to reoffend.

     SECTION 4.  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.  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 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 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; or if that senior circuit judge must be recused, another circuit judge of the same district or a senior status judge may hear and decide the matter;

          (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 * * *.;

          (i)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all persons who were under the age of eighteen (18) at the time of their crimes, and who are otherwise ineligible for parole, shall be eligible for parole after they have served fifty percent (50%) of the sentence or sentences imposed by the trial court or twenty (20) years, whichever is less.  All persons eligible for parole under this paragraph shall be required to have a parole hearing before the board, under Section 47-7-17, before parole release.

     (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.

     (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.  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 5.  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, 47-5-138.1 or 47-5-142, and except as provided in Section 47-7-3(1)(i), 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 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 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 6.  The following shall be codified as Section 47-7-3.3, Mississippi Code of 1972:

     47-7-3.3.  Case plan for juvenile offenders.  (1)  In consultation with the Parole Board, the department shall develop a case plan for all inmates who were under the age of eighteen (18) at the time of their crimes to guide each juvenile offender's rehabilitation while in the department's custody and to reduce the likelihood of recidivism after release.

     (2)  The case plan shall include, but not be limited to:

          (a)  Programming and treatment requirements based on the results of a risk and needs assessment;

          (b)  Educational and vocational programming;

          (c)  Any programming or treatment requirements contained in the sentencing order; and

          (d)  General behavior requirements in accordance with the rules and policies of the department.

     (3)  With respect to juvenile offenders admitted to the department's custody on or after July 1, 2021, the department shall complete the case plan within ninety (90) days of admission.  With respect to juvenile offenders admitted to the department's custody prior to July 1, 2021, the department shall complete the case plan by January 1, 2022.

     (4)  The department shall provide the juvenile offender with a written copy of the case plan and the offender's caseworker shall explain the conditions set forth in the case plan.

          (a)  Within ninety (90) days of admission, the caseworker shall notify the juvenile offender of their parole eligibility date as calculated in accordance with Section 47-7-3(3);

          (b)  At the time a juvenile offender receives the case plan, the department shall send the case plan to the Parole Board for approval.

     (5)  With respect to juvenile offenders admitted to the department's custody after July 1, 2021, the department shall ensure that the case plan is achievable prior to the offender's parole eligibility date.  With respect to juvenile offenders admitted to the department's custody prior to July 1, 2021, the department shall, to the extent possible, ensure that the case plan is achievable prior to the inmate's parole eligibility date or next parole hearing date.

     (6)  The caseworker shall meet with the juvenile offender every eight (8) weeks from the date the offender received the case plan to review the offender's case plan progress.

     (7)  Every four (4) months the department shall electronically submit a progress report on each juvenile offender's case plan to the Parole Board.  The board may meet to review an offender's case plan and may provide written input to the caseworker on the juvenile offender's progress toward completion of the case plan.

     SECTION 7.  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.  Each member of the board shall complete annual training developed based on guidance from the National Institute of Corrections, the Association of Paroling Authorities International, or the American Probation and Parole Association.  Each first-time appointee of the board shall, within sixty (60) days of appointment, or as soon as practical, complete training for first-time Parole Board members developed in consideration of information from the National Institute of Corrections, the Association of Paroling Authorities International, or the American Probation and Parole Association.

     (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.

     (7)  (a)  The Parole Board is authorized to select and place offenders in an electronic monitoring program under the conditions and criteria imposed by the Parole Board.  The conditions, restrictions and requirements of Section 47-7-17 and Sections 47-5-1001 through 47-5-1015 shall apply to the Parole Board and any offender placed in an electronic monitoring program by the Parole Board.

          (b)  Any offender placed in an electronic monitoring program under this subsection shall pay the program fee provided in Section 47-5-1013.  The program fees shall be deposited in the special fund created in Section 47-5-1007.

          (c)  The department shall have absolute immunity from liability for any injury resulting from a determination by the Parole Board that an offender be placed in an electronic monitoring program.

     (8)  (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 2021.

     (9)  An affirmative vote of at least four (4) members of the Parole Board shall be required to grant parole to an inmate convicted of capital murder or a sex crime.  An affirmative vote of at least three (3) members of the Parole Board is required to grant parole to a juvenile offender who is eligible for parole under to Section 47-7-3(1)(i).

     (10)  This section shall stand repealed on July 1, 2022.

     SECTION 8.  Section 47-7-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     47-7-13.  A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business.  A decision to parole an offender convicted of murder or a sex-related crime shall require the affirmative vote of three (3) members.  An affirmative vote of at least three (3) members of the Parole Board is required to grant parole to a juvenile offender who is eligible for parole under to Section 47-7-3(1)(i).  The board shall maintain, in minute book form, a copy of each of its official actions with the reasons therefor.  Suitable and sufficient office space and support resources and staff necessary to conducting Parole Board business shall be provided by the Department of Corrections.  However, the principal place for conducting parole hearings shall be the State Penitentiary at Parchman.

     SECTION 9.  Section 47-7-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     47-7-15.  The board shall adopt an official seal of which the courts shall take judicial notice.  Decisions of the board shall be made by majority vote, except as provided in Sections 47-7-5(9) and 47-7-13.

     The board shall keep a record of its acts and shall notify each institution of its decisions relating to the persons who are or have been confined therein.  At the close of each fiscal year the board shall submit to the Governor and to the Legislature a report with statistical and other data of its work.

     SECTION 10.  Section 47-7-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     47-7-17.  Within one (1) year after his admission and at such intervals thereafter as it may determine, the board shall secure and consider all pertinent information regarding each offender, except any under sentence of death or otherwise ineligible for parole, including the circumstances of his offense, his previous social history, his previous criminal record, including any records of law enforcement agencies or of a youth court regarding that offender's juvenile criminal history, his conduct, employment and attitude while in the custody of the department, the case plan created to prepare the offender for parole, and the reports of such physical and mental examinations as have been made.  The Parole Board also may order a psychiatric or psychological examination when it determines such an examination is necessary to making a parole decision.  The board shall furnish at least three (3) months' written notice to each such offender of the date on which he is eligible for parole.

     Before ruling on the application for parole of any offender, the board may require a parole-eligible offender to have a hearing as required in this chapter before the board and to be interviewed.  The hearing shall be held no later than thirty (30) days prior to the month of eligibility.  No application for parole of a person convicted of a capital offense shall be considered by the board unless and until notice of the filing of such application shall have been published at least once a week for two (2) weeks in a newspaper published in or having general circulation in the county in which the crime was committed.  The board shall, within thirty (30) days prior to the scheduled hearing, also give notice of the filing of the application for parole to the victim of the offense for which the prisoner is incarcerated and being considered for parole or, in case the offense be homicide, a designee of the immediate family of the victim, provided the victim or designated family member has furnished in writing a current address to the board for such purpose.  Parole release shall, at the hearing, be ordered only for the best interest of society, not as an award of clemency; it shall not be considered to be a reduction of sentence or pardon.  An offender shall be placed on parole only when arrangements have been made for his proper employment or for his maintenance and care, and when the board believes that he is able and willing to fulfill the obligations of a law-abiding citizen.  When the board determines that the offender will need transitional housing upon release in order to improve the likelihood of * * * him or her the offender becoming a law-abiding citizen, the board may parole the offender with the condition that the inmate spends no more than six (6) months in a transitional reentry center.  At least fifteen (15) days prior to the release of an offender on parole, the director of records of the department shall give the written notice which is required pursuant to Section 47-5-177.  Every offender while on parole shall remain in the legal custody of the department from which he was released and shall be amenable to the orders of the board.  Upon determination by the board that an offender is eligible for release by parole, notice shall also be given within at least fifteen (15) days before release, by the board to the victim of the offense or the victim's family member, as indicated above, regarding the date when the offender's release shall occur, provided a current address of the victim or the victim's family member has been furnished in writing to the board for such purpose.

     Failure to provide notice to the victim or the victim's family member of the filing of the application for parole or of any decision made by the board regarding parole shall not

constitute grounds for vacating an otherwise lawful parole determination nor shall it create any right or liability, civilly or criminally, against the board or any member thereof.

     A letter of protest against granting an offender parole shall not be treated as the conclusive and only reason for not granting parole.

     The board may adopt such other rules not inconsistent with law as it may deem proper or necessary with respect to the eligibility of offenders for parole, the conduct of parole hearings, or conditions to be imposed upon parolees, including a condition that the parolee submit, as provided in Section 47-5-601 to any type of breath, saliva or urine chemical analysis test, the purpose of which is to detect the possible presence of alcohol or a substance prohibited or controlled by any law of the State of Mississippi or the United States.  The board shall have the authority to adopt rules related to the placement of certain offenders on unsupervised parole and for the operation of transitional reentry centers.  However, in no case shall an offender be placed on unsupervised parole before he has served a minimum of fifty percent (50%) of the period of supervised parole.

     SECTION 11.  Section 47-7-18, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     47-7-18  (1) * * *  Each  No inmate who is eligible for parole under Section 47-7-3(1)(i) shall be released on parole without a hearing before the Parole Board as provided in Section 47-7-17.  All other inmates eligible for parole pursuant to Section 47-7-3 shall be released from incarceration to parole supervision on the inmate's parole eligibility date, without a hearing before the board, if:

          (a)  The inmate has met the requirements of the parole case plan established pursuant to Section 47-7-3.1;

          (b)  A victim of the offense has not requested the board conduct a hearing;

          (c)  The inmate has not received a serious or major violation report within the past six (6) months;

          (d)  The inmate has agreed to the conditions of supervision; and

          (e)  The inmate has a discharge plan approved by the board. 

     (2)  At least thirty (30) days prior to an inmate's parole eligibility date, the department shall notify the board in writing of the inmate's compliance or noncompliance with the case plan.  If an inmate fails to meet a requirement of the case plan, prior to the parole eligibility date, he or she shall have a hearing before the board to determine if completion of the case plan can occur while in the community.

     (3)  Any inmate for whom there is insufficient information for the department to determine compliance with the case plan shall have a hearing with the board.

     (4)  A hearing shall be held with the board if requested by the victim following notification of the inmate's parole release date pursuant to Section 47-7-17.

     (5)  A hearing shall be held by the board if a law enforcement official from the community to which the inmate will return contacts the board or the department and requests a hearing to consider information relevant to public safety risks posed by the inmate if paroled at the initial parole eligibility date.  The law enforcement official shall submit an explanation documenting these concerns for the board to consider. 

     (6)  If a parole hearing is held, the board may determine the inmate has sufficiently complied with the case plan or that the incomplete case plan is not the fault of the inmate and that granting parole is not incompatible with public safety, the board may then parole the inmate with appropriate conditions.  If the board determines that the inmate has sufficiently complied with the case plan but the discharge plan indicates that the inmate does not have appropriate housing immediately upon release, the board may parole the inmate to a transitional reentry center with the condition that the inmate spends no more than six (6) months in the center.  If the board determines that the inmate has not substantively complied with the requirement(s) of the case plan it may deny parole.  If the board denies parole, the board may schedule a subsequent parole hearing and, if a new date is scheduled, the board shall identify the corrective action the inmate will need to take in order to be granted parole.  Any inmate not released at the time of the inmate's initial parole date shall have a parole hearing at least every year.

     SECTION 12.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2021.


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