Many people are confused by the topic of good time credit and how it can help the chances of parole in Texas.
We're going to discuss the basic concept in this article and hopefully clear things up for those of you looking forward to seeing a loved walk free as soon as they make parole.
First, if a person has been convicted of what is known as a "3g offense" like murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated robbery or other crimes of violence, an offender cannot be considered for parole until they have served an actual 50% of their sentence regardless of their good time credit. As an example, that means if the person was sentenced to 20 years in prison for an 3g offense, then they absolutely cannot make parole until they have served a minimum of 10 years, and the statistics show that it is unlikely they will make their first parole.
For all offenses, a person begin earning credit toward their sentence when they are incarcerated in either county jail or a prison and start earning good time credit when they actually are sentenced by the court and incarcerated.
We start with the idea that a prisoner gets one day of credit for every day served.
Good time credit is applied on top of that and if a prisoner has had no problems or disciplinary actions while incarcerated then they are considered a Line Class 1 and earn 20 days of good time credit for every 30 days of "flat time" they serve. Essentially that means that a prisoner who does not get into trouble gets 50 days credit for every 30 days they serve. In addition, if a prisoner works while incarcerated or attends school then they can get an additional 10 days of credit for each 30 days actually served thus making a total of 60 days credit for every 30 days actually served.
A person who is not incarcerated for a violent (3g) offense is eligible to be considered for parole when his flat time plus his good time and work time equal 25% of their sentence. So, if a person is sentenced to 8 years and while in prison they immediately begin working and avoid getting into any trouble, they would be eligible for parole after 1 year of actual incarceration since their 1 year of flat time and 1 year of good time equals 2 years, or 25% of the 8 year sentence.
At this time State Jail offenders only do flat time and do not receive good time credit although that may change in the future.