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January 30, 2024

Understanding Federal Good Time Credit

If you or a loved one are currently incarcerated in a federal prison, you may be wondering if you qualify for good time credit that can reduce your overall sentence. Getting time reduced from your sentence is understandably an important goal, as it means getting released from prison sooner. This guide covers the basics of federal good time credit, eligibility requirements, how credits are calculated, and tips to ensure you receive all the credits you qualify for.

What is Federal Good Time Credit?

Good time credit, often referred to as "good conduct time", is a sentencing reduction incentive for federal inmates who demonstrate good behavior while incarcerated. For every year you serve in federal prison without any disciplinary issues, you can earn up to 54 days of good conduct time. This good time is deducted from your overall sentence, allowing well-behaved inmates to shorten their sentence.

Who is Eligible for Good Time Credit?

The good news is that the majority of federal inmates are eligible to earn good conduct time while incarcerated. As of the First Step Act signed into law in 2018, only federal inmates sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole are excluded from earning credits.

How Are Good Time Credits Calculated?

Federal inmates can earn up to 54 days of good conduct time for every year served. This comes out to about 15% of each year you serve deducted from your total sentence for staying disciplinary-free. For example, an inmate with a 10 year sentence could earn up to 540 days deducted, reducing their required time down to about 8.5 years.

Tips to Receive Your Earned Good Time Credits

Because good time credits rely fully on good behavior, following all prison rules is essential to earning your sentence reduction. Here are tips to help ensure you receive all the credit you qualify for:

• Avoid any disciplinary infractions - Any type of violation of prison rules can lead to lost good conduct time or make you ineligible.

• Display model inmate behavior - Don't do anything that might land you in any type of special housing unit.

• Enroll in rehabilitation programs - Taking part in eligible prison programs demonstrates your commitment to self-improvement.

• Communicate respectfully with staff - Build positive relationships with those who monitor your behavior.

Understanding Federal Good Time Policies

Policies regarding good time credits in the federal prison system changed under the First Step Act. Make sure to understand the updated statutes around earned time deductions to ensure the time credited against your sentence is calculated properly. If anything seems inconsistent with what you qualify for, don't hesitate to speak to an attorney.

As you serve your federal sentence, keeping up good behavior and qualifying for good conduct credits is one way to reduce the years you ultimately spend behind bars. Being awarded your earned good time allows you to reunite with your family and restart your life sooner while still serving your requited sentence. Consider speaking with a criminal law attorney if you need assistance ensuring you receive all eligible good time credit.


Contact Us Today

If you or your incarcerated loved one have questions about applying good conduct time to a federal sentence, contact knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Katsarelis Law today. Our team stays up to date on the latest Bureau of Prisons and sentencing guidelines to advise clients on good time credit eligibility. Don't leave sentence reductions on the table - call Katsarelis Law at (520) 510-0439 for professional support.

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