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3 programs to reduce prison sentencing

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2021 | Criminal Appeals |

Inmates sentenced to time in federal prisons likely want to get a sentence below the recommended range. To reduce time served and allow for early release, some individuals may qualify for several programs that reduce the amount of time required to serve on an already set sentence. 

Inmates looking to reduce their sentence should be familiar with their potential options including ‘good time,’ 500 hour RDAP and residential re-entry centers. 

1. Granting of good time

A ‘good time’ system can make incarcerated people eligible for release sooner and overall shorten their sentence. States can award credit for participating in programs. With earned good time over several years, individuals make their release date more flexible and can also earn time off of their sentence. 

In Missouri, inmates with dangerous records including persistent sexual offenses or prior drug sales may not earn good time. 

2. 500 hour Residential Drug Treatment Program

Some inmates may have their sentences reduced by up to a year for completing a 500 hour Residential Drug Treatment Program (RDAP), if they qualify. The sentence reduction is proportionate to the amount of time left on the inmate’s sentence. The average reduction as a result of RDAP is eight months. The best way to become eligible for this type of program is to request that the sentencing judge recommend the defendant for this program at the time of his or her sentencing. 

To get a sentence reduction, the inmate must meet strict requirements including not having a violent offense conviction, have at least 2 years of a sentence left and you must desire substance abuse treatment. 

3. Transfer to halfway houses

Sometimes, near the end of prison sentences, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) transfers inmates to residential re-entry centers. This helps these individuals reintegrate better into society. Inmates can spend about four to twelve months of their sentence in this type of program. 

Overall, these three programs are common avenues that the BOP administers to incentivize inmates to participate and reduce their sentences after sentencing. 

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