Jail Time Credit for Rhode Island Inmates
In Rhode Island, after a criminal defendant is convicted of a crime and sentenced to a term of incarceration at the Adult Correctional Institute (“ACI”), he or she may be eligible to receive a reduction in the actual time to serve. This is referred to as jail time credit. Jail time credit is expressed in actual days off from an imposed jail sentence. The more jail time credit that an inmate receives, the less time he or she will spend behind bars.
An inmate in Rhode Island may earn jail time credit in a variety of ways. Available forms of jail time credit include:
- credit for good behavior while incarcerated
- working while in prison
- participation in and completion of approved courses or programs
In the Rhode Island penal system, inmates may earn a maximum of up to 17 days per month of jail time credit. This includes 10 days per month for good behavior (aka: good time credit), 2 days per month for working (aka: industrial time credit), and 5 days per month for participating in an approved course or program. In addition, when an inmate completes an approved course or program, he or she may receive an additional 30 days of credit.
Not all inmates are eligible
Not all inmates are eligible to earn all forms of jail time credit. An inmate serving a sentence for certain sex offenses and/or other specified offenses is limited to the types and amount of jail time credit he or she may earn.
An inmate who has committed a good time ineligible offense may only earn up to 5 days per month.
Good time ineligible offenses include:
- Assault with Intent to Commit Murder;
- Kidnapping a Minor;
- First-Degree Sexual Assault;
- First Degree Child Molestation; and
- Second-Degree Child Molestation.
These inmates are also barred from earning credit for participating in or completing approved courses or programs.
An inmate who has committed a good time eligible sex offense may only earn up to 15 days per month.
These good-time eligible sex offenses include:
- Second Degree Sexual Assault;
- Third Degree Sexual Assault;
- Assault with Intent to Commit First Degree Sexual Assault; or
- Any Child Pornography offense.
Under this restriction, inmates may receive the same number of days of good time credit per month equal to the number of years imposed for their jail sentence.
For example, if an inmate is sentenced to eight years, he or she will only be eligible to earn eight days per month for good behavior. This form of credit may not exceed 10 days per month. Therefore, if the inmate’s sentence exceeds 10 years, the inmate is only eligible to earn a maximum of 10 days per month for good behavior.
Industrial time credit
Another form of jail time credit available to Rhode Island inmates is known as industrial time credit. Industrial time credit consists of 2 days per month for working 15 days or more within a calendar month. Industrial time credit is awarded to all eligible inmates sentenced to a prison term of six months or more and not serving life sentences. Inmates may earn a maximum of 2 days of industrial time credit per month.
Participating or completing approved courses or programs
Another way most Rhode Island inmates can receive jail time credit is for participating in or completing approved courses or programs. An eligible inmate can earn 5 days per month for participating in an approved course or program which addresses the inmate’s individual needs and is related to his or her criminal behavior. In addition to participating in these courses, when an inmate completes an approved course or program, he may receive an additional 30 days of credit.
Performing a meritorious service
The last form of jail time credit is awarded for performing a meritorious service. This service credit can be earned several ways.
- One way is when an inmate performs a heroic act affecting the lives and welfare of institutional personnel, inmates, or the general public.
- Another way is when an inmate has submitted extraordinary and useful ideas and plans while participating in and completing academic or vocational education programs, which have been implemented for the benefit of the state resulting in substantial saving and/or a higher degree of efficiency.
- The last way is when an inmate has submitted useful ideas concerning academic or vocational programs that have been implemented at the ACI. Under meritorious service credit, an eligible inmate may earn up to 3 days per month and a maximum of 36 days per year.
The more jail time credit an inmate accrues, the shorter the sentence to be served. Under Rhode Island law, the Parole Board considers an inmate’s jail time credit when considering him for early release on parole. Therefore, it is beneficial for all Rhode Island inmates to earn as much jail time credit as possible, in order to reduce their imposed sentences.
Early termination of parole and earned compliance credits
Under Rhode Island law, the Parole Board considers an inmate’s jail time credit when considering him for early release on parole. Most inmates are considered for parole after they serve at least one-third of an imposed prison sentence.
When computing the required one-third, the Parole Board considers any earned good time, industrial time, and program participation and/or completion time that an inmate has received. Once the inmate is deemed eligible for parole, the inmate will be released and serve the remaining period of his sentence on parole supervision. The Parole Board will set any terms or conditions the parolee must adhere to while on supervision.
A parolee is different from a probationer in many ways, but one important difference is that a probationer may apply for early termination whereas traditionally, a parolee had no such opportunity for an early end to parole. Under a new Rhode Island law enacted in July 2021, an individual on parole supervision may now apply for early termination of parole.
Under R.I.G.L. § 13-8-35, upon the Parole Board’s motion or request of a parolee, the board may terminate a parolee’s supervision before his sentence expires.
The law carves out an exclusion of those prisoners serving a life sentence for first- or second-degree murder. The law provides that seven (7) years after releasing the parolee on supervision, the Parole Board must review the status of the parolee and determine the need for his or her continued supervision.
If after seven (7) years, the parolee no longer requires supervision, the board shall terminate supervision unless the board, after a hearing, determines supervision should not be terminated because of the likelihood the parolee will reoffend.
If the board does not terminate the supervision, the parolee can request a hearing every year for a termination redetermination. The board is also required to conduct an early termination hearing at least every two (2) years. Once a decision is made, the parolee may not appeal. He or she must wait for the redetermination hearing.
To determine whether to grant or deny early termination from supervision, the parolee must have been on supervised parole for the required period, abided by all state and federal laws during the period, employed at the time of the request, and completed seven (7) consecutive years of supervision free from an incident of new criminal behavior or serious parole violation.
An “incident of new criminal behavior” or “serious parole violation” includes a new arrest or report of a parole violation, if supported by substantial evidence of guilt, even if no conviction or parole revocation results. The board may also consider the parolee’s current and past behavior, background, and criminal history.
In addition, parolees serving on parole supervision may also earn compliance credit. This credit under R.I.G.L. § 13-8-11 allows an offender to have a parole supervision period reduced based on good behavior or compliance during the supervision period.
The credit does not apply to those serving a sentence for felony murder, sexual assault, and child molestation. How the credits are applied is that on the first day of every month, an eligible parolee shall earn five (5) days of compliance credits if he or she, for the month prior, has not had any documented behavior which would be considered a violation of parole. Compliance credits then reduce the time that a parolee is subject to parole board supervision.
If you are a Rhode Island inmate serving a term of parole supervision and have questions about how potential compliance credits may impact your eligibility to terminate your supervision early, contact Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni III today at (401) 351-5100 for a free consultation.