New Article on Good Conduct Time

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Legal Scholarship, Public, Wisconsin Criminal Law & Process

I have a new article in the Wisconsin Lawyer about good conduct time, a program that permits prisoners to earn accelerated release based on how well they do behind bars.  Most states offer GCT to their prison inmates, but Wisconsin does not.  (Inmates in local jail facilities here may earn GCT, but not the 20,000+ longer-term inmates in state prisons.)  In the new article, I argue that Wisconsin policymakers should consider adopting a GCT program for prisoners as part of their ongoing efforts to reduce the size of the state prison population, which remains near historic highs.  For readers interested in more on this topic, I’ve created a page on my personal blog that collects my writings on GCT.

2 thoughts on “New Article on Good Conduct Time”

  1. Wisconsin used to have early release for good conduct. What was the motivation for eliminating that? It wasn’t that long ago.

    1. There was a sort of good conduct time that was included in a much larger package of “earned release” reforms adopted in 2009 by former Gov. Doyle and the then-Democratic legislature. After the Republican takeover of state government, pretty much the whole package was repealed in short order. In my view, the GCT aspect of the 2009 law was regrettably tarnished by its association with some more dubious provisions. The basic criticisms of the earned release package were that (1) it reduced judicial control over sentencing, and (2) it threatened public safety. As I have discussed in some of my published writing on this topic, I believe that a GCT proposal could be developed that would address these concerns in a reasonably satisfactory manner.

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