Earned Time Law and Legal Definition

The term ‘earned time’ refers to a credit that is awarded to a prisoner who participates in activities that are aimed to decrease the chances of the prisoner re-offending, after being released from prison. To get earned time, a prisoner ordinarily must take educational or vocational courses, or work a job. Earned time is different from ‘good time credit’ that is credit awarded to prisoners for good conduct.

The following is an example of a case law defining the term:

“Earned time is defined as follows: In addition to the good time authorized in Colo. Rev. Stat. § 17-22.5-301 (1986), earned time, not to exceed 30 days for every six months of incarceration, may be deducted from the inmate's sentence upon a demonstration to the department by the inmate that he has made substantial and consistent progress in each of the following categories: (a) Work and training, including attendance, promptness, performance, cooperation, care of materials, and safety; (b) Group living, including housekeeping, personal hygiene, cooperation, social adjustment, and double bunking; (c) Participation in counseling sessions and involvement in self-help groups; (d) Progress toward the goals and programs established by the Colorado diagnostic program. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 17-22.5-302 (1986). In essence, good time under section 17-22.5-301 is analogous to statutory good time and trusty time under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 17-22.5-201(1), (2) (1986).” [Price v. Mills, 728 P.2d 715 (Colo. 1986)].