September 10, 2013 9:42:26 AM
JACKSON -- The Mississippi Parole Board has started releasing a few inmates on the condition that they wear electronic monitoring devices that can be used to track their location, board chairman Doug Davis said Monday.
Davis said that since he became chairman in late July, the board has approved ankle bracelets for about 20 people who'd been convicted of nonviolent crimes.
A 2012 law authorized the board to release inmates on the condition they wore electronic monitoring devices. But Davis said the devices were not used when Malcolm McMillin, a former Hinds County sheriff, was board chairman.
McMillin left the Parole Board in July, and Gov. Phil Bryant elevated Davis to chairman.
The Department of Corrections also releases some inmates on the condition that they use electronic monitoring devices. There are a few differences. Under the MDOC program, an offender can't leave Mississippi. Under the Parole Board program, an offender can seek permission to go out of state.
In both programs, a person wearing the electronic device must live in an approved home and report regularly to a supervisory officer.
The person is banned from using or possessing weapons, alcohol or illegal drugs, and from going to bars, nightclubs and casinos.
Putting an inmate on supervised release with an ankle bracelet is cheaper than incarceration because the state is not paying for housing, food or medical expenses.
The Parole Board heard 715 requests for release in August and granted about 60 percent of them, Davis said. That means only a small portion was released on the condition of using an ankle bracelet.
Davis spoke Monday in Jackson at a forum sponsored by the Capitol press corps and Mississippi State University's Stennis Institute of Government.
Davis served two terms as a state senator from DeSoto County before losing a bid for re-election in November 2011. During part of his time in the Senate, he was Appropriations Committee chairman under Bryant, who was then the lieutenant governor. Bryant appointed Davis to the Parole Board in January 2013.