Getting Credit for Good Conduct
Good Time Credit
The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is authorized to award good conduct time (also referred to as “good time credit”) for sentences of more that 1 year. Good conduct credit of up to 54 days can be awarded if the BoP finds the “prisoner has displayed exemplary compliance with institutional disciplinary regulations.” 18 U.S.C.A. § 3624(b)(1). If the BOP finds a prisoners compliance is less than exemplary, it is authorized to award no credit or lesser credit.
If the BOP finds a prisoners compliance is less than exemplary, it is authorized to award no credit or lesser credit.
The details of the BOP’s implementation of the good time credit provision are found in:
As the name suggests, any award of good time credit that has not vested may be reduced or eliminated for disciplinary issues. While these proceedings are beyond the scope of this paper, details may be found in 28 C.F.R. § 541.13 [PDF].
Three Rules for Good Time Credit
There are three rules for determining good time credit based on the date of offense and the conduct for which a prisoner was sentenced. These rules are set forth as follows:
Credit for each Year Served
For offenses committed on or after November 1, 1987, but before September 13, 1994, the BOP awards 54 days credit for each year served. This amount is prorated when the time served is less than a full year. Once good time credit vests, it cannot be disallowed.
Credit for Earning a GED
For offenses committed on or after September 13, 1994, but before April 26, 1996, inmates earn up to 54 days credit at the end of each full year. To receive credit, they must have earned, or be making satisfactory progress toward earning a GED.
The Ninth Circuit Court invalidated this regulation based on a technical failure to articulate a rational basis for the BOP’s interpretation of § 3624 as required by the Administrated Procedures Act. Tablada v. Thomas, 533 F.3d 800, 809 (9th Cir. 2008). It nonetheless deferred to the BOP’s longstanding interpretation through its Program Statement.
Time Served without GED
For inmates serving a sentence for an offense committed on or after April 26, 1996, the BOP awards 54 days credit for each year served (or a prorated amount when the time served is less than a full year) if the inmate has earned or is making satisfactory progress toward earning a GED credential or high school diploma. The BOP awards a maximum of 42 days credit for each year served (or a prorated amount for a period of less than a year) if the inmate has not earned or is not making satisfactory progress toward earning a GED credential or high school diploma.
Under rules 2. and 3, an alien subject to a final order of removal is not required to participate in literacy/GED programs to receive the full award of good time credit.
If an inmate disagrees with an assessment on good time credit, he or she must challenge the assessment using the Administrative Remedy Program, 28 CFR §§ 542.10-542.19.
How to Ensure you Get Credit for Time Served
- Make sure the PSR Accurately reflects your educational history, including if he has earned a GED credential or a high school diploma
- To make sure you are getting the full, appropriate consideration, you may want to consult a professional Federal Prison Consultant.
Contact us at 214-431-2032 for more information