The Federal “Good Time” Bill

In September 2008, Representative Danny Davis of Illinois introduced the “Federal Work Incentive Act of 2008.” This bill has quickly become known as the Federal “Good Time” Bill. The Bill proposed to “roll back,” so to speak, the good time allowances as they existed before the enactment of the Sentencing Reform Act. As all federal inmates and their families are aware, an inmate currently must serve 85% of their time and there are extremely limited options to reduce their time. This new Bill would provide incentives for inmates and create a graduated system of good time credits. Under the Bill the following would be the amount of good time available, along with “Industrial Good Time” in the amount of 3 days per month for the first year and 5 days per month for the following years:

(1) 5 days for each month of the sentence, if the sentence is not less than 6 months and not more than 1 year.
(2) 6 days for each month of the sentence, if the sentence is more than 1 year and less than 3 years.
(3) 7 days for each month of the sentence, if the sentence is not less than 3 years and less than 5 years.
(4) 8 days for each month of the sentence, if the sentence is not less than 5 years and less than 10 years.
(5) 10 days for each month of the sentence, if the sentence is 10 years of more.

Certainly, this is a huge step in the right direction to reduce not only prison overcrowding and the associated skyrocketing costs of incarceration, but will provide inmates with a strong incentive to be the classic “model prisoner.” It will also bring home your loved ones much sooner. The bill is currently sitting it he House Judiciary Committee and no substantive action has yet been taken.

However, it is imperative that you contact your Congressperson and show your support for this Bill. To find out who your Congressperson is, go to www.house.gov and enter your zip code. Congress MUST hear your voice or this will be just another bill that dies in Committee.