Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood will ask a circuit court judge on Jan. 23 to invalidate the pardons of at least 10 felons whom ex-Gov. Haley Barbour granted clemency before leaving office.
Speaking to members of the Jackson media this afternoon, Hood said none of the five inmates pardoned in January who also worked in the governor's mansion complied with a constitutional requirement to publish notification in the county where he or she committed the crime 30 days prior to receiving a pardon nor did five others who are currently incarcerated.
Hood added that some of the prisoners published for four weeks in the local newspaper – which would be 28 days, not the required 30.
"If our forefathers who wrote our constitution would have wanted these convicts to give only four weeks, they would have said four weeks not 30 days," Hood said.
At least one bill was introduced in the state legislature in the past week to prevent convicted murderers from working as trustys in the governor's mansion. But according the Mississippi Department of Corrections Inmate Handbook, several classes of inmates are already prohibited from achieving trusty status.
The handbook states: "Any inmate who has a life sentence, was convicted of a sex crime, has a mandatory or habitual sentence, was convicted of possession with the intent to deliver or sell a controlled substance under §41-29-139, or was convicted of trafficking in controlled substances under §41-29-139 is not eligible for trusty status.
Other offenses that preclude inmates from having trusty status, include:
· Conviction for failure to register as sex offender;
· Convicted of capital murder, murder (homicide), attempted capital murder or attempted murder (homicide);
· Has not served the mandatory time required for parole eligibility for a conviction for armed robbery, armed carjacking, or drive-by shooting pursuant to §47-7-3;
· Has not served the remainder of the sentence for which an ERS violation was applied
· Conviction for a violation of §47-5-198 "Sale, possession or use of a controlled substance and narcotic drug within a correctional facility
MDOC spokeswoman Suzanne Singletary told the Jackson Free Press that the prisoners assigned to the governor's mansion are minimum-security inmates -- not trustys, as has been widely reported since media outlets started covering the pardon controversy. Singletary said the term trusty is used loosely.
Hood added that his office is reviewing all gubernatorial pardons going back to the turn of the 20th century to ascertain whether those receiving pardons complied with the publication requirement.
"We've got our plate full with 203," Hood said. "My intent is to go back to the ones that Gov. Barbour's just handled (in 2012) and deal with those, and once we're through with those go back and look at others and see what the court says about those."
Here's what the MDOC inmate handbook has to say about inmate job assignments and employment. Or, visit http://www.mdoc.state.ms.us/Inmate_Handbook/CHAPTER%20III.pdf
INMATE EMPLOYMENT AND JOB ASSIGNMENT
All inmates are required to work a scheduled number of hours a day, and will work according to their Medical Class
and or Level of Care as indicated below:
A. Medical Class One
Good to excellent physical condition; physically capable of handling all work/program assignments.
B. Medical Class Two
Average to good physical condition; is capable of exerting sustained effort over long work periods, is physically
capable of most work/program assignments; disability, if any, will not be jeopardized by such a general
C. Medical Class Three
Fair to average physical condition; is capable of sustaining effort for only moderate periods; limitations may affect
some aspect of work/program/housing assignment considerations.
D. Medical Class Four
Poor to fair physical condition; limited physical capacity or stamina; can exert sustained effort for short periods
only; limitation(s) may require special considerations.
E. Medical Class Five
Poor physical condition; severely limited physical capacity or stamina; requires physician authorization for any
work assignment, and may require special housing considerations.
LEVEL OF CARE
Level A. No Mental Health Concerns.
Level B. Mental Health Intervention.
Level C. Ongoing Mental Health Treatment.
Level D. Chronic Mental Health Treatment.
Level E. Inpatient Mental Health Treatment.
II. JOB ASSIGNMENTS
A. The inmate will be assigned or reassigned jobs by the Director of Offender Services or designee.
B. The inmate must request a job change through his case manager or Unit Management Team.
C. The inmate must have a completed Inmate Staff Request on file prior to going to work.
Some inmate's job assignments or work places will require integrity, responsibility and security precaution and will be
referred to as Sensitive Placement Job Assignments. These type job assignments should be discussed with facility
staff for additional information.
Criteria for Sensitive Placement
Inmates with prior sex offenses or current sex offenses may not be considered
No Rule Violation Reports of any type in the past three months
No out-of-state or federal detainer(s) for violent offense or escape
No prior escapes within the last five years
No assaultive Rule Violation Reports within one year
Inmates must test negative for the use of alcohol and/or drugs
All criminal information on NCIC must have a disposition
III. MERITORIOUS EARNED TIME (MET)
MET is a discretionary grant of earned time that differs from regular Earned Time Credit, and is for good conduct and
performance. There is no property or liberty right attached to MET. An inmate may not earn MET and Trusty Time
for the same program, project, or work assignment.
A. Inmates will not receive MET if they have:
Received a mandatory or habitual sentence;
Assigned to a maximum-security facility for disciplinary reasons; and or
Been found guilty of an RVR within the past six months.
B. Inmates may be granted MET for the following:
Participation in educational or instructional programs;
Regular institutional work; Satisfactory participation in approved work projects; and or
Satisfactory participation in special incentive programs.
IV. TRUSTY STATUS
A. Inmates may be recommended for Trusty Status based on institutional needs, outside labor crew needs and the
inmate's ability/skill. An inmate in trusty status may be awarded a trusty time allowance of 30 days reduction of
sentence for each 30 days of participation in approved programs. Approved programs may include, but not be
limited to the following:
Community based work program;
Joint State County Work Program (JSCWP);
Mississippi Prison Industries (MPIC);
MDOC classified county jail support;
Mobile work crew;
Essential inmate unit support; and or
Satisfactory participation in education or instructional program;
Satisfactory participation in work projects; and or
Satisfactory participation in any special incentive programs.
B. The inmates being considered for trusty status must meet special classification criteria for the appropriate custody
level. An inmate is not eligible for trusty status if he is in long term segregation and does not participate in either
work or treatment programs.
C. Any Inmate who refuses a job assignment or is removed from a job by a work supervisor and or a Facility's
Controlling Authority is in direct violation of trusty status and may be removed from that status.
D. Any inmate who has a life sentence, was convicted of a sex crime, has a mandatory or habitual sentence, was
convicted of possession with the intent to deliver or sell a controlled substance under §41-29-139, or was
convicted of trafficking in controlled substances under §41-29-139 is not eligible for trusty status.
(Any inmate convicted of possession with the intent to deliver or sell a controlled substance under §41-28-139.)
Conviction for failure to register as sex offender;
Convicted of capital murder, murder (homicide), attempted capital murder or attempted murder (homicide);
Has not served the mandatory time required for parole eligibility for a conviction for armed robbery, armed
carjacking, or drive-by shooting pursuant to §47-7-3;
Has not served the remainder of the sentence for which an ERS violation was applied; and or
Conviction for a violation of §47-5-198 "Sale, possession or use of a controlled substance and narcotic drug
within a correctional facility".