Garner v. Jones, 529 U.S. 244, 9 (2000)

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252

GARNER v. JONES

Opinion of the Court

factors which convinced us the amendment to California law created an insignificant risk of increased punishment for covered inmates. Our opinion was careful, however, not to adopt a single formula for identifying which legislative adjustments, in matters bearing on parole, would survive an ex post facto challenge. Ibid. We also observed that the Ex Post Facto Clause should not be employed for "the micro-management of an endless array of legislative adjustments to parole and sentencing procedures." Id., at 508. These remain important concerns. The States must have due flexibility in formulating parole procedures and addressing problems associated with confinement and release.

The case turns on the operation of the amendment to Rule 475-3-.05(2) within the whole context of Georgia's parole system. Georgia law charges the Parole Board with determining which prisoners "may be released on pardon or parole and [with] fixing the time and conditions thereof." Ga. Code Ann. 42-9-20 (1997). In making release decisions, the same law, in relevant part, provides:

"Good conduct, achievement of a fifth-grade level or higher on standardized reading tests, and efficient performance of duties by an inmate shall be considered by the board in his favor and shall merit consideration of an application for pardon or parole. No inmate shall be placed on parole until and unless the board shall find that there is reasonable probability that, if he is so released, he will live and conduct himself as a respectable and law-abiding person and that his release will be compatible with his own welfare and the welfare of society. Furthermore, no person shall be released on pardon or placed on parole unless and until the board is satisfied that he will be suitably employed in self-sustaining employment or that he will not become a public charge." 42-9-42(c).

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