With some exceptions, prisoners in Mississippi who have been sentenced to a term of one year or more may be granted parole, which is conditional early release from their prison sentence. Parole can only be granted after parolees have served one-fourth of their sentence and have a record of good prison conduct. There is no guarantee of parole, which is a privilege and not a right.
A parolee is supervised by the Department of Corrections which imposes rules on the conduct of the parolee. If parolees break a rule which has been imposed upon them, they are in violation of their parole. The consequences imposed for the violation depends on the seriousness of the violation.
Possible Punishments and Consequences for Parole Violations
A technical violation is “any act or omission that violates a condition or conditions of being placed” on parole. Some examples range from failing to report a change of address to the parole officer, failing to show up for a mandatory drug test, or disobeying travel restrictions. A parole officer has a range of punishments that can be imposed including:
- A verbal warning
- Increase in reporting schedule
- Increased drug and alcohol testing
- Mandatory drug or alcohol treatment
- Jail stay of up to two days for certain violations
The parole officer must notify either the Parole Board or the sentencing court whenever a sanction is imposed for a parole violation.
If the parole officer believes the parole should be revoked, the parolee is entitled to a parole revocation hearing.
Although it depends on the offense of conviction, a parolee who commits any offense while on parole risks parole revocation and returning to prison to serve the original sentence along with the new sentence for the new conviction. Even if there is an acquittal, the parole board may still consider the circumstances leading up to the charge may be good cause to revoke parole.
You Have the Right to a Parole Revocation Hearing
In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court held that when a parolee is charged with a parole violation for which the parole officer wishes to revoke parole as a punishment, the parolee has the due process right to a hearing in front of a detached and neutral parole board. The Court concluded that:
- The parolee must receive written notice of the alleged violations.
- The board hearing the case must provide the parolee the evidence that will be used against the parolee.
- The parolee must be given an opportunity to rebut the evidence and present witnesses and documentary evidence in his or her favor and to be present at the parole revocation hearing.
- The parolee must be allowed to cross-examine witnesses. There may be an exception to this if the hearing officer finds good cause to prevent it.
- If the decision is to revoke parole, the board that heard the matter must provide the parolee a written statement for its reasons for the revocation and the evidence it relied on in support of its revocation order.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to Represent you at the Revocation Hearing
William Wayne Housley, Attorney at Law, knows the parole revocation laws and will help you understand the best way to approach the hearing. You have options:
- Admit the violation, but present mitigating evidence and your remorse for the violation. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a solution and consequence that does not require you to return to prison. For example, if you tested positive for drugs, provide proof that you immediately began attending NA or AA meetings and are working on your problem.
- Prepare a defense and vigorously fight the revocation and return to prison. For example, if you missed a drug test date, do you have evidence that you were unable to obtain transportation? Were you unexpectedly called for a job interview?
The law does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a parole violation occurred. The board can revoke parole if it finds that reasonable grounds exist for the revocation of parole.
Time is of the essence. You only have a short period of time to prepare your defense after you receive notification that your parole is being revoked. Contact Attorney Housley immediately for a free consultation.