House Bill 387 contains 13 sections signed into law on July 1, 2018. I will not attempt to include all the distinct components of the bill, but will simply attempt to highlight some.
Section 1 provides that incarceration shall not automatically follow the nonpayment of a fine, restitution or court costs. An on the record hearing is required to determine whether the defendant is indigent or not and simply refused to make payment. To determine poverty, the Federal Poverty Guidelines shall be utilized. A totality of the circumstances review will be conducted to include the defendant's disposable income, financial obligations and liquid assets. Where the defendant is found by the court to not be indigent and could have made payment but refused, then said finding must be included in the court's order. Where it is determined that nonpayment is willful then court shall determine period of incarceration not to exceed the maximum term of imprisonment authorized for the offense. And, of course, where defendant is deemed to be indigent the court may then imposed alternatives such as community service, extension of time to pay, or revokes the fine.
Section 2, in essence, amends Section 99-19-20 and provides that where incarceration is necessary, the defendant will be credited $100 dollars for each day served and that defendant will not be incarcerated beyond the maximum authorized term for imprisonment.
Section 3 amends Section 99-37-7 to offer direction to District Attorney and defendant where defendant is in default regarding payments.
Section 4 amends Section 47-1-1 to allow for confinement in county jail to not exceed one year subject to Section 1 of this act.
Section 5 amends Section 47-7-3 and gives direction for those eligible for parole after serving 25% of proscribed sentence subject to the exclusions listed. Violent offenses, sex crimes and trafficking are specifically enumerated as excluded from this eligibility.
Section 6 provides for technological advances in communication that allows for meetings with parole or probation officers. They can use Skype, Facetime, or Google video chat to accomplish the desired meeting goals.
Section 7 requires the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) to conduct a census of population in juvenile detention centers, and county and municipal jails and said report is due by November 30, 2018.
Section 8 creates a Mississippi Sentencing Disparity Task Force designed to study and report the existence of possible disparity in sentencing for crimes.
Section 9 allows for eligible inmates to participate in a state-county work program at the request and cost of said requesting county.
Section 10 amends Section 47-7-27 and addresses parole violations. A hearing shall be held within 21 days for any parolee detained as a result of a warrant or violation report.
Section 11 amends Section 47-7-37 and addresses probation violations. A hearing shall be held within 21 days for any offender detained as a result of a warrant or violation report.
Section 12 amends Section 99-19-81 provides information for the habitual offender status. Where convicted as a habitual offender, the offender shall serve the maximum sentence for the conviction unless the court provides an explanation in its sentencing order setting forth the cause for deviating from the maximum sentence.
Section 13 advises that the act shall be law as of July 1, 2018.
To view in its entirety click House Bill 387.
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