Texas State Jail Inmates Can Be Released Up to 20 Percent Early


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Early release from Texas state jails is now possible after House Bill 2649 passed the Texas legislature.  H.B. 2649 relates to the award of diligent participation credit to defendants confined in a state jail felony facility and amends Section 15(h), Article 42.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, by amending Subdivision (1) and adding Subdivisions (4), (5), and (6).  The new law allows certain incarcerated defendants to receive good conduct time for good conduct and diligent participation in specific programs.  This good conduct time also may be reduced or removed for bad behavior or other disciplinary infractions.  Defendants may be released up to 20 percent early under the new law.  Prior to this new law, there was no good conduct time available to those defendants confined in a state jail felony facility.

The Code of Criminal Procedure is now amended by H.B. 2649 to require the facility director of a state jail facility in which a defendant is confined to report to the sentencing court on the defendant’s conduct and diligent participation in a program while confined in the facility not later than the 30th day before the date on which the defendant will have served 80 percent of the defendant’s sentence.  Such report must indicate whether the defendant diligently participated in a substance abuse treatment program or a work, educational, or vocational program.  Based on that received report, a judge can credit against any time a defendant is required to serve in a state jail felony facility an additional time for each day the defendant actually serves in the facility for the defendant’s diligent participation in an educational, vocation, treatment, or work program.  The time credit cannot exceed 20 percent of the amount of time the defendant is originally required to serve in the facility.  A defendant cannot be awarded such a time credit for any period during which the defendant is subject to disciplinary action.

The change in law is applied prospectively and took effect September 1, 2011.


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