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      RS 15:574.2     

  

PART II. PAROLE

(1) COMMITTEE ON PAROLE AND RULES OF PAROLE

§574.2. Committee on parole, Board of Pardons; membership; qualifications; vacancies; compensation; domicile; venue; meetings; quorum; panels; powers and duties; transfer of property to committee; representation of applicants before the committee; prohibitions

            A.(1) A committee on parole, hereinafter referred to as "the committee", is hereby created in the Department of Public Safety and Corrections which shall enforce the provisions of this Part and the rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Part. The committee on parole shall consist of the following persons:

            (a) The five members of the Board of Pardons, as established in Article IV, Section 5 of the Constitution of Louisiana and R.S. 15:572.1.

            (b) There shall be two at-large appointees to the committee on parole, appointed by the governor, who shall serve only as members of the committee on parole and shall not serve as members of the Board of Pardons.

            (2) In addition to the seven members appointed by the governor, an ex officio member shall serve on the committee pursuant to Paragraph (8) of this Subsection.

            (3) Beginning with appointments made to the board, or appointments to fill a vacancy on the board, which occur after August 1, 2014, each member, except for the ex officio member, must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, and shall possess not less than five years actual experience in the field of penology, corrections, law enforcement, sociology, law, education, social work, medicine, psychology or psychiatry, or a combination thereof. If the member does not have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, he or she must have no less than seven years experience in a field listed in this Paragraph. The provisions of this Paragraph shall not apply to any person serving as a member of the board on August 1, 2012.

            (4) The chairman of the Board of Pardons shall also serve as the chairman of the committee on parole.

            (5) For the five members of the Board of Pardons who also serve as members of the committee on parole, the powers and duties of the committee and the educational and training criteria provided for by this Section shall be in addition to the statutory and constitutional requirements applicable to the Board of Pardons.

            (6) Each member, except for the ex officio member, shall devote full time to the duties of his office.

            (7) The chairman of the board shall receive an annual salary not to exceed fifty thousand dollars, the vice chairman shall receive an annual salary not to exceed forty-seven thousand dollars, the two-at-large appointees to the committee on parole and each of the other members of the board, except for the ex officio member, shall receive an annual salary not to exceed forty-four thousand dollars payable on his own warrant, and shall be reimbursed for necessary travel and other expenses actually incurred in the discharge of his duties. The actual salaries, subject to the limits provided for in this Paragraph, shall be authorized by executive order of the governor.

            (8) The warden, or in his absence the deputy warden, of the correctional facility in which the offender is incarcerated shall be an ex officio member of the committee. When the offender is housed in a local correctional facility and the warden, or deputy warden, of that facility is not able to attend the offender's parole hearing, the warden, or in his absence the deputy warden, of the facility where the offender's parole hearing is held may serve as an ex officio member. The ex officio member shall not be a voting member nor shall he be counted or permitted to be counted for purposes of the number of members necessary to take committee action or the number of members necessary to establish quorum.

            (9)(a) Within ninety days of being appointed to the committee on parole, each voting member shall complete a comprehensive training course developed by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. The training course shall be developed in compliance with guidelines from the National Institute of Corrections, the Association of Paroling Authorities International, or the American Probation and Parole Association.

            (b) Each member shall complete a minimum of eight hours of training annually, which shall be provided for in the annual budget of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. The annual training course shall be developed using the training from the National Institute of Corrections, the Association of Paroling Authorities International, or American Probation and Parole Association. Training components shall include an emphasis on the following subjects:

            (i) Data-driven decision making.

            (ii) Evidence-based practices. As used in this Item, "evidence-based practices" means practices proven through research to reduce recidivism.

            (iii) Stakeholder collaboration.

            (iv) Recidivism reduction.

            (c) The department shall promulgate regulations setting forth the specific criteria for the course that the members are required to complete under the provisions of this Subsection.

            B.(1) The domicile of the committee shall be in the parish of East Baton Rouge, city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

            (2) Venue in any action in which an individual committed to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections contests any action of the committee is East Baton Rouge Parish. Venue in a suit contesting the actions of the committee shall be controlled by this Part and R.S. 15:571.15 and not the Code of Criminal Procedure, Title XXXI-A (Post Conviction Relief) or Title IX (Habeas Corpus) regardless of the captioned pleadings stating the contrary.

            C.(1) The committee shall meet in a minimum of three-member panels at the adult correctional institutions on regular scheduled dates, not less than every three months. Such dates are to be determined by the chairman. Except as provided for in Paragraph (2) of this Subsection or in cases where the offender is released pursuant to Paragraph (4) of this Subsection, three votes of a three-member panel shall be required to grant parole, or, if the number exceeds a three-member panel, a unanimous vote of those present shall be required to grant parole.

            (2) Except in cases where the offender is released pursuant to Paragraph (4) of this Subsection, the committee may grant parole with two votes of a three-member panel, or, if the number exceeds a three-member panel, a majority vote of those present if all of the following conditions are met:

            (a) The offender has not been convicted of a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:541 or an offense which would constitute a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:541, regardless of the date of conviction.

            (b) The offender has not committed any major disciplinary offenses in the twelve consecutive months prior to the parole eligibility date. A major disciplinary offense is an offense identified as a Schedule B offense by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections in the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures of Adult Offenders.

            (c) The offender has completed the mandatory minimum of one hundred hours of pre-release programming in accordance with R.S. 15:827.1 if such programming is available at the facility where the offender is incarcerated.

            (d) The offender has completed substance abuse treatment as applicable.

            (e) The offender has obtained a GED credential, unless the offender has previously obtained a high school diploma or is deemed by a certified educator as being incapable of obtaining a GED credential due to a learning disability. If the offender is deemed incapable of obtaining a GED credential, the offender must complete at least one of the following: a literacy program, an adult basic education program, or a job skills training program.

            (f) The offender has obtained a low-risk level designation determined by a validated risk assessment instrument approved by the secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

            (3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law in this Section, no person convicted of a crime of violence against any peace officer as defined in R.S. 14:30(B), shall be granted parole except after a meeting, duly noticed and held on a date to be determined by the chairman, at which at least five of the seven members of the committee are present and all members present vote to grant parole.

            (4)(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, each offender who commits an offense on or after November 1, 2017, other than a crime of violence as defined in R.S. 14:2(B) or a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:541, and eligible for parole pursuant to R.S. 15:574.4(A)(1), except those sentenced under R.S. 15:529.1 or R.S. 13:5401, shall be released on administrative parole on the offender's parole eligibility date without a hearing before the committee if all of the following conditions are met:

            (i) The offender has completed a case plan pursuant to R.S. 15:827(A)(7), except as provided in Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph.

            (ii) For any offender whose charge or amended charge on the bill of information was a crime of violence as defined by R.S. 14:2(B) or a sex offense as defined by R.S. 15:541, the following conditions are met:

            (aa) A victim of the offender has been notified pursuant to Subsection D of this Section and has not requested that the committee conduct a hearing.

            (bb) The district attorney of the parish in which the conviction occurred has been notified pursuant to Subsection D of this Section and has not requested that the committee conduct a hearing.

            (iii) The offender has not committed any major disciplinary offenses in the twelve consecutive months prior to the administrative parole eligibility date. A major disciplinary offense is an offense identified as a Schedule B offense by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections in the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures for Adult Offenders.

            (iv) The offender has agreed to the conditions of supervision.

            (b)(i) Except as provided in Item (ii) of this Subparagraph, if the offender has met the conditions provided in Items (a)(ii), (iii), and (iv) of this Paragraph, he shall still be released on administrative parole if the case plan was not created for him or the incomplete case plan was not the fault of the offender.

            (ii) The provisions of Item (i) of this Subparagraph shall not apply to persons who commit the offense on or after January 1, 2021.

            D. In accordance with the provisions of this Part, the committee on parole shall have the following powers and duties:

            (1) Except as provided in Paragraph (C)(4) of this Section, to determine the time and conditions of release on parole of any offender who has been convicted of a felony and sentenced to imprisonment, and confined in any penal or correctional institution in this state.

            (2) To determine and impose sanctions for violation of the conditions of parole.

            (3) To keep a record of its acts and to notify each institution of its decisions relating to the persons who are or have been confined therein.

            (4) To transmit a report on the committee's performance for the previous calendar year to the secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, for inclusion in his report to the governor. The report shall be submitted annually, on or before the first day of February, and shall include statistical and other data with respect to the determinations and work of the committee, relevant data of committee decisions, a summary of past practices and outcomes, plans for the upcoming year, research studies which the committee may conduct of sentencing, parole, or related functions, and may include a recommendation of legislation to further improve the parole system of this state.

            (5) To apply to a district court to issue subpoenas, compel the attendance of witnesses, and the production of books, papers, and other documents pertinent to the subject of its inquiry; to take testimony under oath, either at a hearing or by deposition; and to pay all costs in connection with the board hearings.

            (6) Except as provided in Paragraph (C)(4) of this Section, to consider all pertinent information with respect to each offender who is incarcerated in any penal or correctional institution in this state at least one month prior to the parole eligible date and thereafter at such other intervals as it may determine, which information shall be a part of the offender's consolidated summary record and which shall include:

            (a) The circumstances of his offense.

            (b) The reports filed under Articles 875 and 876 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

            (c) His previous social history and criminal record.

            (d) His conduct, employment, and attitude in prison.

            (e) His participation in vocational training, adult education, literacy, or reading programs.

            (f) Any reports of physical and mental examinations which have been made.

            (7) To adopt such rules not inconsistent with law as it deems necessary and proper, with respect to the eligibility of prisoners for parole, and to the conditions imposed on persons released on parole.

            (8)(a) To notify the district attorney of the parish where the conviction occurred. The notification shall be in writing and shall be issued at least sixty days prior to the hearing date. For offenders eligible for release pursuant to Paragraph (C)(4) of this Section, the notification shall be in writing and shall be issued at least ninety days prior to the offender's administrative parole eligibility date. If the offender's charge or amended charge on the bill of information was a crime of violence as defined in R.S. 14:2(B) or a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:541, the district attorney of the parish in which the conviction occurred shall have thirty days from the date of notification to object to the offender's release on administrative parole and may request that the committee on parole conduct a hearing. The district attorney of the parish where the conviction occurred shall be allowed to review the record of the offender since incarceration, including but not limited to any educational or vocational training, rehabilitative program participation, disciplinary conduct, and risk assessment score. The district attorney shall be allowed to present testimony to the committee on parole and submit information relevant to the proceedings, except as provided in Paragraph (C)(4) of this Section.

            (b) When requested, to notify the chief of police, where such exists, and the sheriff and district attorney of the parish where the individual resides and the conviction occurred. The notification shall be in writing and shall be issued at least seven days prior to the release of any parolees residing within the jurisdiction of the agency.

            (9)(a) To notify the victim, or the spouse or next of kin of a deceased victim, when the offender is scheduled for a parole hearing. The notification shall be in writing and sent no less than sixty days prior to the hearing date. The notice shall advise the victim, or the spouse or next of kin of a deceased victim, of their rights with regard to the hearing. The notice is not required when the victim, or the spouse or next of kin of a deceased victim, advises the committee in writing that such notification is not desired. The victim, or the spouse or next of kin of a deceased victim, shall be allowed to testify at the hearing. The victim, or the spouse or next of kin of a deceased victim, shall be allowed to testify directly, or in rebuttal to testimony or evidence offered by or on behalf of the offender, or both.

            (b) To notify the victim, or the spouse or next of kin of a deceased victim of those offenders eligible for release pursuant to Paragraph (C)(4) of this Section. The notification shall meet all requirements set forth in Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph except that it shall give notice of the offender's administrative parole eligibility date and be sent no less than ninety days prior to the offender's administrative parole eligibility date. If the offender's charge or amended charge on the bill of information was a crime of violence as defined in R.S. 14:2(B) or a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:541, the victim, or the spouse or next of kin of a deceased victim, shall have thirty days from the date of notification to object to the offender's release on administrative parole and may request that the committee on parole conduct a hearing.

            (10) To adopt rules and regulations to encourage voluntary participation by inmates committed to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections in vocational training, adult education, literacy, and reading programs, through programs established by the department under R.S. 15:828(B). The rules and regulations may include provisions for accelerated parole release time, in addition to the provisions of R.S. 15:574.4(A)(1), for persons who are not otherwise ineligible in R.S. 15:574.4(B) and who are otherwise eligible, but no offender shall receive more than ten additional days per month or one hundred eighty days total accelerated parole release time for program participation.

            (11) To sanction the applicant's disorderly, threatening, or insolent behavior, or use of insulting, abusive, or obscene language or written communication in connection with the application before the committee. A decision to sanction may result in the immediate and unfavorable termination of the proceedings and the applicant's right to make future application for parole may be suspended for not more than two years. The applicant shall be informed of the sanction of the committee at the commencement of the proceedings.

            (12) To adopt such rules as it deems necessary and proper with respect to the conduct of parole hearings for the purpose of excluding any person or persons in order to protect the privacy of the victim or victims during parole hearings.

            E. The Board of Parole established by Act No. 162 of 1952, as last amended by Act No. 90 of 1967, is hereby abolished and all books, papers, records, monies, and other property heretofore used or possessed by the board shall be transferred to the committee on parole established by the provisions of this Part.

            F.(1) The following persons shall not represent any applicant directly or indirectly, before the committee:

            (a) The executive counsel to the governor.

            (b) The executive secretary to the governor.

            (c) Any member of the immediate staff of the governor.

            (d) Any member of a law firm, law partnership, or law corporation of which a member, associate, or partner is the executive counsel to the governor, the executive secretary to the governor, or a member of the immediate staff of the governor.

            (2) If an executive counsel, executive secretary, or member of the immediate staff of the governor violates the provisions of this Subsection, such person shall forfeit the office or position held and all emoluments of the office or position. In addition, if a member of a law firm, partnership, or corporation of which such a person is a member, associate, or partner violates the provisions of this Subsection, the office or position held with the governor and all emoluments of said office or position shall be forfeited.

            G.(1) On and after August 15, 1997, no member of the committee on parole shall transmit any correspondence to, or otherwise confer with, a judge before whom a convicted offender is awaiting sentence to request or recommend any action relating to the sentence imposed upon the offender.

            (2) Violation of the provisions of this Subsection shall immediately disqualify the member from serving on the committee and a vacancy shall be declared.

            (3) However, no decision of the committee shall be nullified or otherwise affected by the participation of a member who has violated this Subsection, except as to a decision that involves the offender or any decision rendered after the committee is notified of the violation and the violation is determined to have occurred.

            H. The department shall develop a plan that shall be submitted to the legislature no later than January 1, 2012, and shall include the following:

            (1) The establishment of a process for adopting a validated actuarial risk and needs assessment tool consistent with evidence-based practices and factors that contribute to criminal behavior, which shall be available to the committee on parole for consideration and use in making parole decisions, including additional objective criteria that may be used in parole decisions.

            (2) The establishment of procedures for the department on the use of the validated assessment tool to guide the department, committee on parole, and agents of the department in determining supervision management and strategies for all offenders under the department's supervision, including offender risk classification, and case planning and treatment decisions to address criminal risk factors and reduce offender risk of recidivism.

            (3) The establishment of goals for the department, which include training requirements, mechanisms to ensure quality implementation of the validated assessment tool, and safety performance indicators.

            I.(1) In addition to any duties set forth in the provisions of this Section, the committee on parole shall evaluate any application filed pursuant to R.S. 15:308 and, taking into consideration the risk of danger the applicant would pose to society if released from confinement, shall make recommendations to the Board of Pardons as to whether the applicant is eligible for a reduction in sentence pursuant to R.S. 15:308.

            (2) The secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections shall adopt and promulgate rules, regulations, and procedures in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act to implement the provisions of this Subsection.

            Acts 1968, No. 191, §1. Amended by Acts 1972, No. 57, §1; Acts 1972, No. 159, §1; Acts 1975, No. 326, §1; Acts 1978, No. 764, §1; Acts 1980, No. 448, §1; Acts 1980, No. 733, §1, eff. July 29, 1980; Acts 1980, No. 755, §1, eff. April 1, 1981; Acts 1981, No. 447, §1; Acts 1982, No. 508, §1; Acts 1985, No. 140, §1; Acts 1989, No. 335, §1; Acts 1990, No. 670, §1; Acts 1991, No. 116, §§1, 2; Acts 1991, No. 766, §1; Acts 1991, No. 1012, §§1, 2; Acts 1995, No. 303, §1; Acts 1995, No. 1011, §1; Acts 1997, No. 730, §1; Acts 1997, No. 960, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1196, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1273, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1358, §1, eff. July 15, 1997; Acts 1999, No. 448, §1; Acts 1999, No. 900, §1; Acts 2004, No. 29, §1; Acts 2010, No. 57, §1, eff. Jan. 9, 2012; Acts 2010, No. 469, §1; Acts 2010, No. 566, §1; Acts 2010, No. 961, §1; Acts 2011, No. 153, §1; Acts 2012, No. 714, §1; Acts 2014, No. 52, §1; Acts 2014, No. 306, §1; Acts 2014, No. 340, §1; Acts 2016, No. 509, §3; Acts 2017, No. 280, §3, eff. Nov. 1, 2017.



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