What is Discretionary Mandatory Supervision?

The Texas Legislature created Discretionary Mandatory Supervision (DMS) to solve a problem with our mandatory supervision laws.

Mandatory Supervision

In 1977, the 65th Texas Legislature enacted the system of mandatory supervision. However, this system automatically released many inmates. The mandatory supervision release calculation was simple: if calendar time plus good time credit equaled the sentence length, many inmates were automatically released.

The Texas Legislature intended to prevent recidivism in creating the mandatory supervision system. Inmates granted mandatory supervision released into parole custody. Additionally, the length of their parole equaled their sentence term minus their calendar time served. Mandatory supervision release occurred without a parole panel vote. Consequently, that left the parole board with no discretion over the release of many inmates.

Our state saw many inmates bypass parole. They did this to avoid the supervision the law intended. Then, released from prison without parole, they had no guidance or help reintegrating into society. Thus, this system became seen as an “automatic open door” as opposed to a guaranty of supervision. On average, mandatory supervision freed eligible inmates after serving 48% of their total sentence. As a result, a bill was introduced to change this system.

House Bill 1433

The Texas Legislature realized the danger of mandatory supervision’s “automatic open door.” Following, it enacted House Bill 1433 in 1995. This law took effect on September 1, 1996. Specifically, HB 1433 restricted the use of mandatory supervision. Further, it shut the “automatic open door” by giving the parole board discretion to deny mandatory supervision releases.

Discretionary Mandatory Supervision

Hence, the discretion that the Texas Legislature vested in the parole board is what has made our mandatory supervision system a “discretionary mandatory supervision” system. This applies to offenses committed on or after September 1, 1996. Additionally, to deny release to mandatory supervision, the parole board has to make two determinations. Firstly, accrued good conduct time must not accurately reflect the potential for rehabilitation. Secondly, the inmate’s release must endanger the public. Hence, the parole board has the discretion to make these two determinations. For this reason, with the ability to make these discretionary determinations, the parole board now controls mandatory supervision releases.

DMS Eligibility

Next, know that DMS eligibility differs from parole eligibility. With parole eligibility, calendar time plus good conduct time must equal one-fourth of the sentence for most. However, the difference with DMS eligibility is that calendar time plus good time must equal the total sentence. The parole board has sole discretion granting parole. Following, to deny DMS, the parole board must make two specific determinations.

Additionally, some inmates are not eligible for DMS for an extended or specified period. And know that some inmates are not eligible for DMS at all. What follows is a list of offenses that are not eligible for DMS. And these offenses apply if they are the ones being served or are previous convictions.

  • First-degree murder
  • Capital murder 
  • First or second-degree aggravated kidnapping 
  • First-degree arson 
  • Second-degree sexual assault 
  • Second or first-degree aggravated assault 
  • First-degree aggravated sexual assault 
  • First-degree injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
  • Second-degree robbery 
  • First-degree aggravated robbery 
  • First-degree burglary 
  • Felonies occurring in a drug-free zone with increased punishment

Calculating the DMS Date

Your loved one’s DMS or projected release date equals the date at which their good time credits plus their calendar days served will equal their total sentence length. See our blog to learn more about the accrual of good conduct time. Further, don’t forget to check your loved one’s DMS date or their Projected Release Date by inputting their information here.

Voting on Discretionary Mandatory Supervision

Your loved one is notified hen DMS review begins. Next, the parole board can defer the decision and request more information as part of its DMS review. The DMS voting options include: 1) DMS, which means deny release to DMS, and setoff the inmate for review one year from the date of the panel decision; or 2) RMS, which means release to DMS, and the inmate will be scheduled for release on a minimum expiration or projected release date. Specifically, DMS denial votes must include two determinations:

  • 9D1: The record indicates that the offender’s accrued good conduct time is not an accurate reflection of the offender’s potential for rehabilitation. 
  • 9D2: The record indicates that the offender’s release would endanger the public.

Get Help

Finally, please know that the experienced parole lawyers at Cox Law Firm know Texas parole laws. Above all, we can help you understand and calculate parole or DMS eligibility. Don’t go it alone preparing for your loved one’s upcoming review date. We will confirm parole or DMS eligibility. Additionally, we create a compelling, tailored parole plan to help your loved one earn their freedom. Please contact us if you have questions or want to put our track record of success and experience to work for you and your loved one.

Source: Texas Government Code Chapter 508 and Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles BPP-POL. 145.202

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