In the state of Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) Community Corrections Division oversees the supervision of people on probation. Generally, a person who commits a crime in Mississippi and is convicted in the state will serve all of their sentence for the offense in Mississippi.
A person on probation may be on house arrest, or Intensive Supervision Program (ISP). A judge is the only party who may sentence a defendant to probation. After a person is granted probation, they are considered an MDOC offender.
First Steps for Probation
Probation can be supervised by a probation officer, or unsupervised when the court is in charge of determining whether the offender has been compliant. The court sets the terms for probation, including the duration of probation and whether the person has a curfew. A person on probation may be randomly screened for drugs or alcohol.
They are required to repay restitution, monetary compensation owed to the victim, court costs and any fine that was included in their sentence. Typically, the probation officer determines whether the person can leave the county or the state while on probation.
Early Release From Probation
A person is typically eligible to request termination of their probation early if they have:
- Abided by the terms of their probation up until the point of the request, which may include getting a job or enrolling in school, paying court costs, restitution, fines and not screening positive for drugs or alcohol.
- Not committed a new offense or been taken into custody for another reason.
- Experienced a serious medical issue, such as engaging in dialysis several times a week, that makes it difficult for them to remain on probation.
A person on juvenile probation may request to terminate their juvenile probation early if they have committed a new offense as an adult and must now deal with a criminal case in adult court. A person who is represented by an attorney should work with their attorney to request to terminate their probation early.
A person who violates the conditions of probation may see their probation revoked. They may be arrested and taken into custody for the violation. Typically, they may be sentenced up to the maximum amount of the remaining incarceration for their offense.
MDOC will hold a revocation hearing for a person on probation. The initial preliminary hearing must take place within 72 hours of the alleged violation. MDOC determines whether there is reasonable cause to believe the person violated the condition of their supervision.
Probation vs. Parole
Parole is distinct from probation in that parole is an early release from a prison sentence. A person on parole spends time in prison first, whereas a person on probation may never have spent time in a jail or prison. The Mississippi Parole Board in Jackson determines parole eligibility.
A person may be eligible for earned release supervision (ERS) if they meet certain criteria, such as not being convicted as a habitual offender. If a person violates state parole, the Mississippi Parole Board will hold a hearing for them. A person who violates the terms of parole risks having to spend the remainder of the time on their sentence in a facility.
Technical Violations and TVCs
A person who commits a technical violation of probation such as not checking in on time may be held at a Technical Violation Center (TVC). A TVC is an MDOC facility that helps the person address issues related to the violation, like substance abuse. There is a standardized sanction system for probation officers to address technical violations.
The steps include verbal warnings, increased reporting, increased drug and alcohol testing, mandatory substance abuse treatment and jail time. A probation officer must notify the sentencing court when they impose a sanction. If a person has been arrested for a new crime, they must tell the sentencing court within 48 hours of learning this fact.
Sentencing limits are up to 90 days for the first technical violation, up to 120 days for the second technical violation and up to 180 days for the full remaining suspended term for the third technical violation. For a fourth or subsequent technical violation, the sentencing judge may impose up to the full remaining prison term.
- Mississippi Department of Corrections: Probation
- Mississippi Department of Corrections: Community Corrections Division
- Rankin County, Mississippi: Sentencing
- Mississippi Department of Corrections: Earned Release Supervision Program
- Mississippi Department of Corrections: Parole
- Mississippi Department of Corrections: Victim Services and SAVIN, FAQs
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.