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Impact Analysis of Proposed Changes in Good Time Policies

NCJ Number
B Bryan; M Gidseg; M Hurtado; P Martinez; L Riechers
Date Published
20 pages
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (DCJ) requested that the Criminal Justice Policy Council (CJPC) analyze the impact of proposed changes in good time policies on the prison population.
Presently, inmates can be charged with disciplinary violations for committing offenses within three categories ranked by severity. Level l offenses include escape and assaulting an officer; Level 2 offenses include the drug possession and trafficking, sexual misconduct, and refusal to work; and Level 3 offenses involve violating safety regulations and creating unnecessary noise. Inmates can lose good time credits if they have committed one of the offenses charged. Proposals under consideration by the DCJ will not allow the restoration of good time lost due to disciplinary violations. The CJPC analysis indicates that proposed restrictions in good time policies will have no significant impact on the prison population. Due to legislative changes since 1987 and tougher parole policies since 1991, the release of violent offenders from prison has been severely restricted. Under existing policies, aggravated violent offenders do not get good time credited toward parole eligibility or mandatory release; nonaggravated violent offenders do not get good time credited toward mandatory release. Restricting good time for violent offenders who commit disciplinary violations in prison will not make this group serve significantly longer in prison than the amount of time they serve under present release policies. Effects of sentencing reform on time spent in prison are evaluated, and assumptions made in determining the impact of good time policy changes are noted. Appendixes provide further information on disciplinary violations by level and time served. 8 figures and 2 tables