U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Good Time

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 22 Issue: 7 Dated: July 1997 Pages: 3-17
C Kaufman
Date Published
15 pages
A total of 46 U.S. States and eight Canadian Provinces responded to questions about good time programs and recent legislation and changes that have impacted their system.
Forty-one States and Provinces reported that they had current or continuing good time programs. Of the inmates involved, 85 percent to 100 percent have some sort of sentence reduction as a result of their behavior and participation in programs. Despite new legislation and public interest in mandatory sentencing, the use of good time as an incentive seems likely to continue. The opportunity to reinforce appropriate behavior during incarceration and to encourage participation in rehabilitative programs makes it an effective management tool. A small but notable group of U.S. States and the Correctional Service of Canada have "bad time" policies, whereby prisoners may have sentences expanded for misbehavior. Recent State legislation and changes instituted by departments of corrections have in some cases made the implementation of good time a complex issue for the public to understand and corrections officials to manage. Tables show good time applications by State and Province as well as good time policy provisions. Information on good time applications addresses the existence of a good time policy; provisions for awarding good time (maximum amount receivable, statutory days per month, and earned days per month); the application of good time to parole eligibility and release date; deduction from sentence (on entry and as earned); and assessment method for earned time awards. The table on good time policy provisions addresses rescission of good time, restoring good time, loss of good time, inmates excluded from earning good time, lifer eligibility, purpose of good time, and recent good time policy revisions.