(1) An offender in a state prison, the state hospital, the Montana Developmental Center, or the Montana Mental Health Nursing Care Center, or an offender who is sentenced to the state prison or committed to the department and who has been transferred from the prison to a prerelease center, or a youth who was sentenced to prison pursuant to 41-5-206, MCA, and is confined in a youth correctional facility is eligible for parole unless the offender is under a sentence of death, the sentencing court has made the offender ineligible for parole, or the offender is ineligible for parole by operation of statute. The department shall receive parole eligibility dates for eligible offenders as calculated by the department pursuant to statutory and court-imposed criteria.
(a) An offender committed to the department and placed in prison temporarily for assessment or medical treatment is not eligible for parole.
(b) An offender against whom a detainer or hold is filed is eligible for parole.
(c) An offender committed to the director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services pursuant to 46-14-312, MCA, is only eligible for parole when the offender is placed at the Montana State Hospital or in a prison.
(2) If the offender receives a consecutive sentence after reception at prison, but before a hearing panel makes an initial ruling on the offender's parole on the original sentence, parole eligibility is determined on the statutory or court-imposed criteria based on the aggregate sum of the original sentence and the consecutive sentence.
(3) If the offender receives a consecutive sentence after reception at prison and after a hearing panel makes an initial ruling on the offender's parole on the original sentence, the offender will not be eligible for parole on the consecutive sentence until the offender discharges the original sentence, unless a hearing panel orders otherwise. However, the offender remains eligible for parole consideration in regard to the original sentence. A hearing panel may allow commencement of the consecutive term for purposes of calculating parole eligibility. If a hearing panel allows commencement of the consecutive term, it only changes the parole eligibility calculation, but does not shorten the consecutive term.
(4) An offender who waives his/her parole hearing will have a mandatory parole hearing within six months unless an extended period is necessary as determined by facility staff and approved by board staff, for a period not to exceed one year. The hearing month will be automatically set and the offender will come before a regularly scheduled hearing panel, unless the offender requests a hearing prior to this date and provides at least 30 days written notice to the board. The board, through its staff, will review all waivers for legitimacy and may accept or reject any waiver. An offender may voluntarily waive two consecutive parole hearings for up to 12 months each time.
(5) Unless a hearing panel otherwise orders, before an offender in a community-based program appears before the board, the offender must have at least 90 days free of severe (Class 100) or major (Class 200) disciplinary violations. An offender in a secure facility must have 120 days free of major disciplinary violations.
(6) Unless a hearing panel otherwise orders, an offender incarcerated at a prison must be classified and have been living in an assigned housing unit for a minimum of 60 days before the offender may appear for parole consideration.