GREAT NEWS for Florida inmates who are parole eligible and meet the criteria for Contract Parole! Those offenders are eligible to apply for release under the Mutual Participation Program Act (MPPA) more commonly known as ‘Contract Parole’. This Statute has been on the books since 1976 and has lain dormant since the late 1980’s. But the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) is working relentlessly with the Florida Parole Commission (FPC) to process eligible inmates. We are now witnessing the resurrection of F.S. 947.135 (MPPA)!
The Legislative intent of the MPPA is to involve the FDOC and the FPC in program planning with the eligible offender to establish criteria enabling release by parole and release from parole. This procedure is designed to demand accountability of eligible inmates before their release and to continue that upswing after release while promoting self-reform and responsibility. The overall objective is to open the doors of freedom to a better person than the one who entered decades earlier.
Since parole ended in 1983 for most offenders and in 1995 for capital felony offenders, there are a few (approximately a couple hundred) inmates who are eligible for parole via Contract. And for those who are, this is GREAT NEWS! In fact, many of these inmates are not aware of their eligibility and most FDOC employees and Classification officers have never heard of Contract Parole. As a result, FDOC is completing a new directive designed to produce a process that is simple, fiscally sound and non-labor intensive. This directive is currently being tested for accuracy on the first five front-runners – five (5) eligible inmates whose names were submitted by Forgotten Majority to FDOC to test the new process. These 5 inmates have served from 30-40 years in prison, their ages range from 56 to 74 years and now they finally share the hope of going home and reuniting with their families. Recidivism for this geriatric population is almost non-existent (including technical violations) while the cost for their incarceration and medical care can easily rise upward to $80,000 annually. So far, three of these offenders have already begun contract negotiations. This group of front-runners consists of Mr. David Graham, incarcerated Oct. 1973 with a PPRD* of 4/2065; Mr. Rafael Martinez, incarcerated April 1983 with a PPRD* of 5/2042; Mr. Dieter Schmidt, incarcerated March 1983 with a PPRD* of 1/2075; Mr. Willie Warren, incarcerated Oct 1974 with a PPRD* of 10/2026: and Mr. Joseph McDaniels, incarcerated June 1979 with a PPRD* of 10/2027.
The Criteria for MPPA excludes any offender who was sentenced as a habitual felony offender (HO) or who was convicted of a capital or life felony offense. Those who are eligible to participate in the program are offered the opportunity to negotiate a contract with FDOC and FPC listing the self-improvement initiatives which must be completed within 3 years of the actual signing. The contract will contain a requirement to attend one of the Lifer’s Programs, offered at specific facilities, which will equip the inmate with interpersonal and independent living skills along with uncovering remnants of irresponsible and erroneous thinking. In addition, the same post-release criteria will apply to those entering into contracts as it does for all who are parole eligible with respect to adequate housing arrangements and financial responsibility. The Contract also includes the parole release date which affords these inmates the luxury of not having to face another dreaded parole hearing.
Enforcing a statute that’s been on the books since the mid 70’s is the legal and just thing to do. Forgotten Majority applauds all efforts made by FDOC as they work toward making sure eligible inmates are adeptly processed and offered assistance as needed. Forgotten Majority will also send notification to every inmate in the state of Florida that is eligible for Parole under Contract once FDOC’s directive is signed, sealed and delivered statewide.
PPRD* – Presumptive Parole Resease Date – (the tentative parole release date as determined by objective parole guidelines).