What Are Good Time Credits?
For all but the worst offenders, most convicted prisoners don't spend their whole sentence in prison. Many are released early because of good time credits for good behavior or for working.
What are good time credits?
Good Time Credits
Good time credits go by many different names including: gain time, meritorious time, sentence remission, diminution of sentence, or time off for good behavior. Essentially, a prisoner's sentence may be shortened as a reward for good behavior.
Another form of good time credits are work credits. Some eligible prisoners may be able to get credits for work projects performed while incarcerated.
How Much Time Do I Get?
While the definition of good time credits may be easy, the calculation of such may require a PhD in math. State and federal laws regarding good time credits vary wildly with some states being very generous and some states being very stingy:
- Federal law -- Federal prisoners can get 54 days of credit for each year served in prison. Some organizations are trying to propose an amendment that would increase the credit to 128 days per year.
- Alabama -- Alabama is pretty generous with its good time credits. Class I prisoners could get 75 days of credits for every 30 days actually served. A prisoner sentenced to one year in prison could potentially be released after spending a little over three months in jail.
- California -- In California, prisoners in county jail can earn two days of credit for every two days spent in jail. However, only six weeks of credits may be applied in a 12-month calendar period. Any extra credits earned cannot be deducted until the next 12-month period.
- Connecticut -- Connecticut is especially harsh on its prisoners. Anybody convicted of a crime after October 1, 1994 must serve 100 percent of the sentence. Absolutely no good time credits allowed.
- Idaho -- Idaho allows up to 15 days of credit per month. However, it's only for prisoners who perform "an extraordinary act of heroism at the risk of his own live or for outstanding service to the state of Idaho which results in the saving of lives." Seriously, who has time to do that while they're in prison?
If you've been incarcerated and would like to know if you're eligible for good time credits, consult with an experienced local criminal defense attorney.
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