Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Effective May 1, 2021, CDCR is changing the Good Conduct Credit (GCC) by increasing the credit rate (Prop 57)

Given the many questions our law office has received on the new CDCR standardizing the amount of Good Conduct Credit (GCC) by increasing the credit rate for eligible incarcerated people; we provide the explanation below and a refresher of the November 2016, California voters passing Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016.


In November 2016, California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016. Under Proposition 57, CDCR has incentivized incarcerated people to take responsibility for their own rehabilitation by providing credit-earning opportunities for sustained good behavior, as well as in-prison program and activities participation. Under Proposition 57, incarcerated people increased their Good Conduct Credit earning, and have been given time credits for participation in Milestone Completion Credits, Rehabilitative Achievement Credits, and Educational Merit Credits. Earning additional credits can move up parole consideration of people convicted of nonviolent crimes who have served the full-term of the sentence for their primary offense, and who demonstrate that their release to the community would not pose an unreasonable risk of violence to the community.

As a Reminder: Proposition 57 included three major components designed to improve the juvenile and adult criminal justice system in California.

1) Establishes a parole consideration process for determinately-sentenced and indeterminately-sentenced people convicted of nonviolent crimes, as defined by California Penal Code, who have served the full term for their primary criminal offense and who demonstrate they no longer pose a current, unreasonable risk to the public.

2) Gives incarcerated people the opportunity to earn additional credits for good behavior and participation in rehabilitative, educational, and career training programs so they are better prepared to succeed and less likely to commit new crimes on the outside.

3) Requires judges, rather than prosecutors, to determine whether juveniles charged with certain crimes should be tried in juvenile or adult court.

Effective May 1, 2021, CDCR is standardizing the amount of Good Conduct Credit (GCC) by increasing the credit rate for eligible incarcerated people based on their conviction pursuant to emergency regulations. GCC incentivizes incarcerated people to comply with departmental regulations and prison rules, and to perform the duties assigned on a regular and satisfactory basis.

Gov. Newsom’s administration explains the goals of the new policy, “The goal is to increase incentives for the incarcerated population to practice good behavior and follow the rules while serving their time, and participate in rehabilitative and educational programs, which will lead to safer prisons… Additionally, these changes would help to reduce the prison population by allowing incarcerated persons to earn their way home sooner.”

Good Conduct Credit

GCCs are awarded to eligible individuals who comply with all the rules within a prison and perform their duties as assigned on a regular basis. Increasing the amount of GCC provides a compelling reason for individuals to positively program, as GCC may be forfeited due to disciplinary action.

Effective May 1, 2021, CDCR will increase the rate of GCC earned for individuals serving time under Penal Code 667.5(c) from 20% to 33%, and from 33.3% to 50% for nonviolent second and third strikers.

Minimum Security Credit

Under the emergency regulations, CDCR is establishing the Minimum Security Credit (MSC), which will be awarded to all eligible incarcerated people who work in conservation (fire) camps, are trained as firefighters, or who are assigned to minimum custody status. Effective May 1, 2021, incarcerated people will be awarded 30 days of credit for every 30 continuous days served.

Milestone Completion Credits

MCC is awarded for successful completion of rehabilitative or educational programs designed to prepare participants to find employment upon release.
MCC is awarded in increments of not less than one week, but no more than 12 weeks, in a 12-month period.

Rehabilitative Achievement Credits

RAC is awarded to those who complete specified hours of approved self-help and volunteer public service activities.
10 days of credit may be awarded to someone who completes 52 hours of approved programming in a 12-month period.

Educational Merit Credits

 EMC is awarded for completion of high school diploma or equivalency programs, higher education degrees, or the Offender Mentor Certification Program (OMCP).
 90 calendar days may be awarded for completion of a high school diploma or high school equivalency approved by the Department of Education, while 180 days may be awarded for successful completion of associate, bachelor’s and post-graduate degrees, and the OMCP.

Extraordinary Conduct Credits

An award of up to 12 months of credit may be awarded to those who have performed a heroic act in a life-threatening situation or who have provided exceptional assistance in maintaining the safety and security of a prison.

Under Proposition 57, CDCR increased credits for Good Conduct and Milestone Completion Programs, and introduced credits for Rehabilitative Achievement and Educational Merit. Credit-earning opportunities incentivize incarcerated people to actively participate in their rehabilitation, while earning time off of their sentence.

All people in state prison, except those condemned to death or sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. A Big Thank you for CDCR and BPH for updating their website to provide the latest updates.

We suggest that inmates can contact their counselors or the Case Records department [at their institutions] to ask for a recalculation of their Release Date, if  they believe they have accumulated these credits, that are not reflected in their Central-file.