In Mississippi, house arrest is called the Intensive Supervision Program (ISP). House arrest is not a state law, although there are numerous statutes relating to house arrest. House arrest is available only to certain individuals, typically juveniles and other non-violent offenders who are deemed low risk.
A crime is deemed violent if the facts show that the defendant used physical force or made a credible attempt or threat of physical force against another person as part of their actions.
Elements of House Arrest
The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) requires a person on house arrest to wear at all times an electronic monitoring device in the form of a bracelet. The person may also be required to be at home at certain times of the day.
If the person is not wearing the bracelet or at home during those times, the company that provided the bracelet will notify a correctional field officer, the supervising probation and parole officer in charge of supervising the person.
Eligibility for ISP
MDOC and the court select the individuals who are eligible for ISP. A court placing a person in ISP may suspend the person’s term of incarceration and place them in ISP. But a person convicted of a sex crime or a felony violation of trafficking in controlled substances is not eligible for ISP.
The exception is when a death sentence or life imprisonment is the maximum penalty that may be imposed. Also, the person is not eligible for a suspended sentence if they have been convicted of a felony committed after having been confined for a felony conviction in any court in a U.S. state or territory.
A person is also ineligible for ISP if they have been convicted of a felony involving the use of a deadly weapon.
Conditions of ISP
A person on ISP is under MDOC’s custody, but held within their home. Their community corrections field officer may visit their home, place of education or place of employment at any time to ensure that the person is complying with the program. A person on ISP is required to:
- Maintain employment if they are physically able or maintain full-time student status at an approved school or vocational trade, and make progress deemed satisfactory to the correctional field officer.
- Be involved in supervised job searches.
- Pay restitution (compensation to the victim of their criminal offense or act of juvenile delinquency) and program fees as directed by MDOC. Program fees shall not be less than $80 per month. A sentencing judge may charge a program fee of less than $80 in cases of extreme financial hardship.
- Not change their residence without the officer’s approval.
- Allow searches of their place of residence for alcoholic beverages, controlled substances and drug paraphernalia.
- Perform no fewer than 10 hours of community service per month.
- Allow alcohol and drug testing as requested by the field officer.
When Is It OK to Leave Home on ISP?
There are a number of times when a person is approved to be absent from their home while on ISP. These include:
- Work or employment approved by the court or MDOC, as well as traveling to or from approved employment.
- When seeking employment that is approved by the court or MDOC, while the participant is unemployed.
- Health care, psychiatric, mental health, counseling or other treatment approved for the participant by the court or MDOC.
- Attending an educational institution or program approved for the participant by the court or MDOC.
- Participating in community work-release or a community service programs approved for the participant by the court or MDOC.
- Another compelling reason consistent with the public interest, as approved by the court or MDOC.
Supervision Fees for ISP
MDOC approves and leases the equipment necessary for people to participate in ISP. A participant in ISP who is employed may be required to pay a monthly fee to MDOC for every month they are enrolled in the home detention program. MDOC may waive the monthly fee if the person is a full-time student or engaged in vocational training.
Violation of ISP
A person who removes their electronic monitoring device or leaves their residence for a reason not approved by the court or MDOC is considered to have violated the terms of ISP. Such violation is considered an escape from the custody of MDOC, and the court may issue a warrant for the person’s arrest.
Being on ISP may be part of a person’s sentence for supervised probation or parole. A person who violates their probation or parole may see either program revoked. They will need to attend a hearing. MDOC holds the hearing for persons on probation, and the Mississippi Parole Board holds the hearing for persons on parole.
The informal preliminary hearing must take place within 72 hours of the alleged violation to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe the person violated the condition of their supervision.
Technical Violations and TVCs
A technical violation is an act or omission that violates a condition of being placed on parole or probation. Escaping from ISP may be considered a technical violation depending on the circumstances of the escape.
For example, the state of Mississippi may consider a person who went to an unapproved location such as a grocery store while on ISP to have committed a technical violation. A person who committed a new offense while on ISP would not be considered to have committed a technical violation.
A person alleged to have committed a technical violation may be held at a Technical Violation Center (TVC). A TVC is an existing MDOC facility equipped to address underlying factors related to the violation, including substance abuse. There is a TVC at each of the three state prisons, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, Mississippi State Penitentiary and South Mississippi Correctional Institution.
Graduated Sanction System
There is a standardized, graduated sanction system for field officers to address technical violations. Sanctions include verbal warnings, increased reporting, increased drug and alcohol testing, mandatory substance abuse treatment and jail stays up to two days for certain violations.
The Mississippi prison stays may not exceed four days in a month. A field officer must notify the sentencing court or parole board any time they impose a sanction. They must notify the sentencing court within 48 hours of learning that an offender has been arrested for a new crime.
Revocation of Probation or Parole
If reasonable cause is found for revoking a person’s probation or parole, a revocation hearing must be held within 21 days of the arrest. If this does not occur, the parolee or probationer must be released from jail and continued on probation or parole.
An individual found to have committed a technical violation will serve time in a TVC. The 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 or the full remaining suspended term for the third technical violation. For a fourth or subsequent technical violation, the judge or parole board can impose up to the full remaining prison term.
Passage of House Bill 585
In 2014, the Mississippi Legislature passed House Bill 585, legislation that aided with prison reform. House Bill 585 made it so only the sentencing judge can place a person on house arrest. Further, the bill removed MDOC’s authority to release offenders on house arrest.
- Mississippi Department of Corrections: Intensive Supervision Program
- Mississippi Department of Corrections: FAQs about House Bill 585
- Mississippi Department of Corrections: Probation
- Mississippi Department of Corrections: Parole
- Mississippi Department of Corrections: FAQs
- Mississippi Department of Corrections: Mississippi Statutes Sections 47-5-1001 to 47-5-1014
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