Friday, October 16, 2009

States Letting Inmates Cut Even More Prison Time

States under pressure to erase budget deficits and ease prison overcrowding are allowing inmates to shave greater amounts of time off their sentences through good behavior and participation in classes such as job training and substance abuse treatment.

Among new laws passed this year: Colorado now permits low-risk inmates 12 days per month of earned time instead of 10; Mississippi lifted a 180-day cap on earned time; and Oregon raised the amount of time inmates can deduct from their sentences for good behavior from 20 percent to 30 percent.

Rhode Island revised its earned time statute last year. Now, virtually all inmates convicted of nonviolent offenses can deduct up to 10 days per month for good behavior, two per month for having prison jobs and five per month for participating in treatment programs. There's a one-time 30-day credit for class completion.

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