148-4.1. Release of inmates.

(a) Whenever the Secretary of Public Safety determines from data compiled by the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety that it is necessary to reduce the prison population to a more manageable level or to meet the State's obligations under law, he shall direct the Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission to release on parole over a reasonable period of time a number of prisoners sufficient to that purpose. From the time the Secretary directs the Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission until the prison population has been reduced to a more manageable level, the Secretary may not accept any inmates ordered transferred from local confinement facilities to the State prison system under G.S. 148-32.1(b). Further, the Secretary may return any inmate housed in the State prison system under an order entered pursuant to G.S. 148-32.1(b) to the local confinement facility from which the inmate was transferred. In order to meet the requirements of this section, the Parole Commission shall not parole any person convicted under Article 7B of Chapter 14 of a sex offense, under G.S. 14-39, 14-41, or 14-43.3, under G.S. 90-95(h) of a drug trafficking offense, or under G.S. 14-17, or any other violent felon as defined in subsection (a1) of this section. The Parole Commission may continue to consider the suitability for release of such persons in accordance with the criteria set forth in Articles 85 and 85A of Chapter 15A.

(a1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety shall at all times secure the necessary prison space to house any violent felon or habitual felon for the full active sentence imposed by the court. For purposes of this subsection, the term "violent felon" means any person convicted of the following felony offenses: first or second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, first or second degree rape, first or second degree sexual offense, any sexual offense involving a minor, robbery, kidnapping, or assault, or attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit any of those offenses.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), only inmates who are otherwise eligible for parole pursuant to Article 85 of Chapter 15A or pursuant to Article 3B of this Chapter may be released under this section.

(c) Persons eligible for parole under Article 85A of Chapter 15A shall be eligible for early parole under this section nine months prior to the discharge date otherwise applicable, and six months prior to the date of automatic 90-day parole authorized by G.S. 15A-1380.2.

(c1) through (g). Repealed by 1995 Session Laws, c. 324, s. 19.9(e).

(g1) Expired July 1, 1996.

(h) A person sentenced under Article 81B of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes shall not be released pursuant to this section.

(i) This section does not apply to inmates released pursuant to G.S. 148-64.1. (1983, c. 557, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1014, s. 197(a); 1987, c. 7, ss. 1, 3, 4; c. 879, s. 1.2; 1989, c. 1, s. 1; 1990, Ex. Sess., c. 1, ss. 1-3.3; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 933, ss. 10-13; 1991, c. 187, s. 2; c. 217, ss. 6, 7; c. 437, ss. 1-9; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1036, ss. 5-7; 1993, c. 91, ss. 1-9; c. 538, s. 31; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 14, s. 64; c. 15, ss. 1-4; c. 24, s. 14(b), (e); 1995, c. 324, s. 19.9(a)-(e); 2008-199, s. 1; 2011-145, ss. 19.1(h), (i); 2015-181, s. 47; 2017-186, s. 2(wwwwww).)