Inmates don’t usually serve the entire sentence handed down by a court. Most can and do have their time shortened by as much as a third. Of those released last year and eligible for that 33 percent time off, more than 59 percent received the full reduction. At least 29 states offer “good time” for following the rules, which is granted when the inmate reports (that is 15%).
And at least 31 states offer “earned time” for attending classes, treatment, work programs or other productive activities. Obviously, it depends on where the offender is doing time.
There are programs for the inmates to take that are sponsored by the institution. Inmates or their families may purchase distance learning college courses and work their way to a four-year degree but there are no sentence-cutting rewards.
In federal prison, there is a program called RDAP. If the inmate qualifies, they enter into a 9-month Residential Drug Alcohol Program - upon successful completion they can get 12 months off their sentence and a guaranteed 6 months of halfway house.
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