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How to Reduce Your Sentence Before Going In

The title of this section is as enticing a lead-in as any that we could post.  Everyone that is sentenced to a term of prison wants to know how to shorten it and the mere hope and promise of some sort of "miracle" is literally what keeps some inmates going.  We are going to give you the basic knowledge of what has to be done, but there are going to be extenuating circumstances that will either make these bits of information viable or impossible.  Every inmate's situation is unique and therefore what might have worked for someone else, may not for you.  We have a large volume of content in the form of articles published over the years that go into great detail the specific ideas shared below.  Please use the search feature at the top of all page or simply "Ask the Inmate" to get answers not found here.

The first program is strictly limited to the federal system.  There is a law that grants an inmate time off for completing the Residential Drug Abuse Program, also known as RDAP.  What many inmates and their lawyers do not know (or prepare for) is that the Pre-Sentence Investigation and Pre-Sentence Report must contain intimate details of your drug or alcohol use, abuse or dependency.  When the investigator interviews you, tell them EVERYTHING that you've done in the year leading up to your crime.  Additionally, if the details of your use, abuse or dependency abetted in your crime, it may be substantive to your getting help.  We are not encouraging anyone to misrepresent themselves in an effort to get into the program, what we are advising is to not hide the usage for fear that things will get worse for you. 

RDAP is a fantastic nine month program that if taken seriously and with an open mind and heart will benefit you greatly.  It challenges you to look at yourself, your criminal thought process and how honest you need to be with yourself going forward...to be a better person upon release.  It is not an easy course, you must apply yourself and work everyday, but the benefits of an earlier release coupled with the change you will experience are worth every minute you are in the program.

There are many restrictions prohibiting certain profiles of inmates from entry.  Any inmate may apply but if you have had violence in your past, crimes involving harming others, then you will not be eligible.  The decision is not made at the prison level, but at the administrative level of the BOP in Texas.

Outside of the federal system, specifically at the State level, there are varying programs that offer trade-outs of work for "good time credits".  Some systems encourage working in the kitchen which gives inmates a reduction in their sentence equaling one day for every two days they work in the kitchen.

Finally, this method is one that if you choose to use, could be dangerous if other inmates find out.  A Rule 35 (or §5K.1 1) which is essentially a sentence reduction for "substantial cooperation" with the prosecution. This is the least popular method as it suggests "snitching" as a way to get time off. Inmates who have information about a crime, may elect to inform "the police" what they know for the purpose of a sentence reduction of up to 50%.  Prison populations hate inmates who have taken this route so be very careful to not share this information with other inmates if you choose do do so.  InmateAid is not advocating this or any other means to reduce your sentence, just offering the reader what options exist.