Earning Good Conduct Time

Just like parole, good conduct time is a privilege in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDJC) prison system. Only prison-sentenced inmates serving time for first, second, or third degree felonies receive good conduct time. Additionally, good conduct time applies only to parole eligibility or mandatory supervision and does not otherwise affect terms of confinement.

Everyone wants the soonest possible reunion with their loved one.  Earning good conduct time is one way to work towards an early release. TDCJ reduces the amount of time your loved one must serve before they are eligible for parole or mandatory supervision.

Understanding how to get and keep good conduct time helps inmates make good choices.  It also ensures your loved one is eligible for parole as soon as possible. Good conduct time can reduce the months and years served inside if they are given the privilege of parole as soon as they are eligible.

This blog details good conduct time accrual for 70th Legislature inmates, which is for all offenses committed after September 1, 1987.  Maximizing good conduct time is dependent on your loved one staying out of trouble and participating in the opportunities he is given. 

Accrual of Good Conduct Time

Regardless of classification, TDCJ can grant good conduct time only if an inmate is actively engaged in an accredited program. Agricultural, vocational, educational, or treatment programs qualify. If TDCJ determines that an inmate is incapable of program participation, he can still earn good time credits.  The availability of programs and endeavors to earn good conduct time credit varies from unit to unit. So, make sure your loved one takes advantage of what he can.

Classification Accrual

Your loved one can accrue good conduct time based on their classification.  Every eligible inmate starts off with a time-accruing classification of Line Class I. Then, inmates can work their way into a higher time-earning status (State-Approved Trusty); however, TDJC can also demote them into a lower Line Class status, where they earn less or no good conduct time.

Individuals have to wait six months before they are eligible for promotion in time-earning status. After 6 months, if your loved one does not have any major disciplinary cases, they qualify as making satisfactory progress. At this time, your loved one can be promoted!

There are two (2) types of time-earning statuses:1) Line Class status (ranging from Line Class III (low) to Line Class I (high)); and 2) State-Approved Trusty (SAT) status (ranging from SAT IV (low) to SAT II (high)).

  1. Trusty earns up to 30 days for each 30 days served (earns 20 days for each 30 days served, and can also be awarded up to 10 extra days for each 30 days served).

2. Line Class I earns 20 days for each 30 days served

3. Line Class II earns 10 days for each 30 days served

4. Line Class III NO good conduct time earned during period of classification

Program Accrual

If an inmate diligently participates in an industrial program or other work program or an agricultural, educational, or vocational program, he can accrue up to 15 days for each 30 days actually served.  Participation as a tutor or a pupil in a literacy program qualifies as an educational program. However, one must participate with good faith and with diligence.

County Jail Accrual

TDJC awards inmates confined in county jails up to 10 days for each 30 days served just like Line Class I.  Inmates in county jail who diligently participate in a voluntary work program operated by a sheriff can accrue up to 15 days for each 30 days actually served with the sheriff’s certification of the number of days the inmate diligently participated.

 At The Cox Law Firm, we have experience dealing with good conduct time, and we can help break down this process for you and your loved one. As a team working towards your loved one’s freedom, we take advantage of every opportunity for a parole hearing at the earliest possible date. Then, we diligently prepare a parole plan to ensure the parole board sees your loved one’s development, support, potential employment, and the success they will have when released.

Source: Chapter 498 of the Texas Government Code

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