Available to all incarcerated persons,

but not to those serving life, or a 1-year-1 day sentence.

Changes in good time credit for good behavior from 47 –> 54 days per year, of their imposed sentence, rather than for every year of their sentence served.

Another Potential Qualifier: The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997(e)), PS 5884.03, shows that you have earned, or made satisfactory progress toward earning your GED.

Good Time credit can be taken away after given, but only for ‘good cause’, and only in these ‘two examples’: 1st) For e.g., riot, food strike, work stoppage, etc., or 2nd) Misbehavior, where the BOP only learned about it after the good time was given.

Calculated by FAMM

“The statute’s plain language says that for every year of imprisonment, prisoners should earn up to 54 days of credit against their entire term of imprisonment. (“Term of Imprisonment” is widely understood as meaning the sentence of imprisonment imposed by the judge.)”

Here’s an example, simply put by FAMM:

A prisoner in the federal system serving a term of 5 years (or 1826 days, including an extra day for a leap year).

Their conduct is excellent, and he/she earns all possible good time.

Federal sentences are served at approximately 85% of each year of the sentenced, or:

311 Days (The 54 Days of GTC is included in the 311)  x  “5 Years” = 1555 Days Until Release

This means he/she earns 54 Days Of Good Time as they complete each set of 311 days.

By the end of five (5) sets or years, they would have served 1555 days,

of their 1826-Day Sentence; or ~ 85%


Second Chances

While slowly changing, our society’s current reality is that once released, these felons are still facing this challenge every day. Instead, it should be considered that once someone has paid for their crime, they are given a second chanceHow states are working to reduce recidivism among ex-offenders.

Some states have removed barriers for ex-offenders, but in federal cases nationwide these challenges still exist.

Utah was one of at least three states that enacted legislation making it easier to expunge a criminal record.



This remaining challenge is a political one; that being the removal of the word ‘felony’ (in certain cases) from a defendant’s record. Nationwide, for both state and federal cases a starting point could be:

  • Non-violent offenses
  • 7- 10 years from the charged offense – without other charges, background checks can either be removed or at minimum designated as completed or ‘not to be used as a negative in a background check’.
  • Practically though, a felony will appear on background checks (Checkr for example keeps it forever), hindering the person from ever reentering most job markets.
  • If this is not done and the released defendant cannot find work; they do not have many if any choices, leading to despair.

A positive example of breaking the recidivism paradigm

  • The, a program started at San Quentin State Prison.
  • Located at San Quentin State Prison where they started the program,
  • they prepare “incarcerated individuals for successful reentry through business and technology training”.



Understanding the Federal Sentencing Guidelines – for general information only.

Photo Credit: