Good conduct time
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 U.S. federal law, prisoners serving more than one year in prison get 54 days a year of good time for every year they serve. Thus, a prisoner who is sentenced to 419 days (365 + 54 days) in prison will serve only about 365 days. Thus, prisoners who demonstrate good behavior serve only about 87.1% of their total sentences.
Some prisoners have argued that prisoners serve only about 85.2% of their sentences, because (365 − 54) ÷ 365 ≈ 85.2%, but the statute empowers the Bureau of Prisons to make the calculation, and the Bureau has determined that the 87.1% rate is to be used. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld this rate as valid. Good time is calculated after sentencing by the Designation and Sentence Computation Center. 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.
- 18 U.S.C. § 3624
- Tony Mauro (June 8, 2010), Justices Approve Bureau of Prisons' Calculations for 'Good Time Credit', The National Law Journal
- H.R. 1475: Federal Prison Work Incentive Act of 2009
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