Changes to Good Time Credits – FAQs

Changes to Good Time Credits – FAQs

What are Good Time Credits? 

Good Time Credits, also known as good conduct credits, are a type of credits that can be awarded to incarcerated people to earn time off their sentence, leading to earlier release or an earlier chance to go to the Board of Parole Hearings. 

How are Good Time Credits awarded?

Good Time Credits are credits awarded for being disciplinary-free and complying with prison rules. 

What are the new changes that were announced by CDCR?

CDCR will increase the Good Time Credits for individuals serving time for crimes under Penal Code 667.5(c), and for those who were sentenced for a nonviolent crime under California’s Three Strikes Law. Credit earning for people convicted for violent crimes will increase from 20 percent to 33.3 percent; and nonviolent crimes will increase from 33.3 to 50 percent. 

Will these changes be applied retroactively? 

No, this credit will be applied prospectively from May 1, 2021. The increased credits will be applied to the calculation of the individual’s Earliest Possible Release Date (EPRD) or Minimum Eligible Parole Date (MEPD) prospectively. 

Are these changes applied to every incarcerated person? 

No, people sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole are not eligible to earn credits.

Will these changes be applied to those in fire camps?

These changes will be applied slightly differently for those in Fire Camps. A Minimum Security Credit (MSC) will be applied to all who are in Fire Camps. Those individuals will receive 30 days of credit for every 30 continuous days served. 

What is Initiate Justice’s position on these new changes?

IJ thinks these changes are a good first step, but we believe these credits should be applied retroactively to the date someone first started their time in CDCR custody. We also believe these changes should be applied to someone’s earliest possible parole date, whether that’s a Youth Offender Date (as AB 965 directs CDCR to do) or an Elderly Parole date if that’s sooner than the Earliest Possible Release Date (EPRD) or Minimum Eligible Parole Date (MEPD). Further, we believe there should be an equitable allocation of credits so that everyone can earn the same amount of credits instead of having a system that depends on someone’s conviction to determine their ability to earn credits.  The length of one’s sentence already reflects the severity of the offense, so it is not necessary to further punish people by limiting their access to good time credits as well.