Once an inmate has earned good conduct time, you do not want to lose it. Encourage your loved one to avoid the following to keep their accrued good time:
Ways to Lose Good Conduct Time
1. Committing an Offense or Violating a TDCJ Rule
For offenses committed or violations of a TDCJ rule, TDCJ may forfeit or suspend good time credit partially or fully. While TDCJ may not restore good conduct time forfeited, it can reinstate good conduct time suspended. Avoid getting cases, especially a major case.
2. Contacting Crime Victims
Contact with victims or their family members is prohibited if the victim was younger than 17 at the time of the offense for which the inmate is incarcerated unless written consent is provided to TDCJ and the inmate receives the consent before making contact. Contact includes letters, phone calls, and indirect communication through friends and family. TDCJ is required to forfeit all or any part of the inmate’s accrued good conduct time, and the forfeited time cannot be restored.
3. Filing Frivolous Lawsuits
TDCJ will forfeit good conduct time if they receive two or more final state or federal court orders dismissing as frivolous or malicious an inmate’s lawsuit. This includes a proceeding arising from an application for writ of habeas corpus. TDCJ must forfeit good time credit as follows:
- 60 days of the inmate’s accrued good conduct time, if TDCJ has previously received one final order;
- 120 days of the inmate’s accrued good conduct time, if TDCJ has previously received two final orders; or
- 180 days of the inmate’s accrued good conduct time, if TDCJ has previously received three or more final orders.
TDCJ cannot restore good conduct time forfeited because of frivolous lawsuits. In determining whether a claim is frivolous, Texas state courts consider whether: 1) the claim’s realistic chance of ultimate success is slight 2) the claim has no arguable basis in law or in fact;3) it is clear that the inmate cannot prove facts in support of the claim; or 4) the claim is substantially similar to a previous claim filed by the inmate because the claim arises from the same operative facts.
You play an integral role in helping your loved one make satisfactory progress toward earning good conduct time. However, you do not have to do it alone. Our experienced parole attorneys will communicate directly with your loved one to explain earning and losing good conduct time. Together, we will ensure that your loved one understands how to gain sooner parole eligibility and earn their freedom.
State Jail Diligent Participation Credit
If your loved one was convicted of a state jail felony, they are eligible for state jail diligent participation credit instead of good conduct time. Good conduct time and diligent participation credit work similarly. Like good conduct time, your loved one can earn diligent participation credit by continued investment in vocational, treatment, and work programs and avoiding disciplinary violations. Participation credit can also be used to expedite consideration for parole.
The main distinction between good conduct time and diligent participation credit is when they are evaluated. With state jail felonies, a judge will consider your loved one’s diligent participation credit forty-five days before they have served 80% of their sentence. Known as the 80/20 rule, if your loved one earns maximum participation credit, the judge can then pardon the remaining 20% of their sentence. Remind your loved one that with sustained hard work, freedom is in sight.
See the TDJC overview to learn more about diligent participation credit.
We have experience navigating the parole process from start to finish to ensure that your loved one has the best chance for an early release. Good conduct time is just one important piece of the puzzle. Please contact us immediately if you have questions about good conduct time or the greater parole process. Our experienced parole attorneys at Cox Law Firm are eager to provide you and your loved one with answers, direction, and support as we prepare for a successful parole hearing.