Good conduct time

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Good conduct time, good time credit, or time off for good behavior is a sentence reduction given to prisoners who maintain good behavior while imprisoned. Good time can be forfeited if a prisoner is determined to have committed disciplinary infractions and/or crimes while incarcerated.

Under United States federal law, prisoners serving more than one year in prison get 54 days a year of good time on the anniversary of each year they serve plus the pro rata good time applied to a partial year served at the end of their sentence, at the rate of 54 days per year.[1]

Persistent controversy over calculation of good conduct time in the United States was laid to rest in the Supreme Court decision in Barber v. Thomas in 2010.[2] The FIRST STEP Act, which provides for time credits for successful participation in recidivism reduction programs, also changes how the 54 days are calculated, applying a retroactive fix that could result in release of 4,000 prisoners.[3]

Rumors constantly circulate within federal prisons that a Good Time Bill will be passed increasing the amount of good time granted to prisoners, and indeed such bills are sometimes introduced.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 18 U.S.C. § 3624
  2. ^ "Legal Resource Guide to the Federal Bureau of Prisons 2014" (PDF). US Department of Justice. p. 13. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  3. ^ George, Justin (16 November 2018). "What's Really in the First Step Act?". Marshall Project.
  4. ^ H.R. 1475: Federal Prison Work Incentive Act of 2009