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65% time served law

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One of most common and persistent rumors that seems to circulate through just about every prison is that there is a law that has either been recently passed or about to be passed that reduces sentences for all prisoners to 65% of the sentence imposed. If you look at prior posts on these boards, you'll see this same question coming up over and over, reflecting those rumors. Those rumors are, however, false. Members of Congress and state legislators don't get votes by springing a bunch of convicted criminals out on the streets early, so you can imagine that such a bill is not likely to ever pass.

The specific rules for sentences depends on the law of the jurisdiction that convicted and sentenced the defendant. If the defendant was convicted of federal offenses in federal court, federal law applies. There has been no bill passed nor is there any bill pending that would cut the time served for all federal prisoners to 65% of the sentence imposed. Sentence changes have been few and are specific to certain crimes.

If the defendant was convicted in state court, the laws of that state determine the sentence. Again, no state has recently reduced the sentence time for all prisoners to 65% of the sentence imposed. Some states have reduced sentences for some types of crime, generally very minor non-violent offenses.

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