“As of May 1, 2019 (under new emergency regulations), people can earn 10 days of (Rehabilitative Achievement) credit for every 52 hours of participation(in eligible self- help and volunteer public service activities), up to a maximum of 40 days credit per year.”
The programming credits under Proposition 57 have been enhanced once again, and many inmates are happy to see these changes.
Inmate David Hill said, “I think it’s a good thing; it’s going to make me more inclined to stay in my groups now that the credit hours roll over into the next year.” These Rehabilitation Credits will get me out of prison at least five months early. Which means I’ll get to my family almost six months sooner.”
The voters of California passed Prop. 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 with more than 64% of the vote. Prop. 57 gave the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) the authority to make changes regarding credits by issuing new emergency regulations in order to keep the prison population within the federal court-ordered limit aimed at reducing crowding in prisons.
Since then, CDCR made small changes that increased the programming credits for inmates. For example, a college student who successfully completes a course with a grade of C or better now receives 3 weeks of Milestone Completion Credits rather than 2 weeks for each course. This change went into effect August 1, 2018.
Now, according to the Prison Law Office, “as of May 1, 2019 (under new emergency regulations), people can earn 10 days of (Rehabilitative Achievement) credit for every 52 hours of participation (in eligible self-help and volunteer public service activities), up to a maximum of 40 days credit per year.” In addition, “If a person earns excess credits, the excess credits will be rolled over and can be applied during following years,” said the Prison Law Office.
Another change affects the Educational Merit Credits. “Starting on May 1, 2019 (under new emergency regulations), a person who earns a high school diploma or equivalent earns 180 days of credit; people who previously got only 90 days of credit under the older rule will be granted an additional 90 days of credit,” according to the Prison Law Office.
“I got my GED back in 2016, here at San Quentin, I did it to show my mother that I was changing for the better,” said inmate Ryan Dietz. “I was stoked to get 90 days off of my sentence and it’s even better now that I’m going to get an- other 90 days off and get home to my family this July.”
The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education said in 2013 that education dramatically improves the lives of incarcerated people, improves employment opportunities, reduces recidivism, and saves money for the state.
Most inmates are able to earn credits for successful participation in approved rehabilitative programs, but it’s important for inmates to verify with their Correctional Counselor to make sure that they are eligible for programming credits.
The information on how Milestone Completion Credits, Rehabilitative Achievement Credits, and Educational Merit Credits, are processed can be found in section’s 3043.3, 3034.4, 3034.5, of the 2018 California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Division 3.
It’s important to know that can Milestone Completion and Rehabilitative Achievement Credits may be lost due to rule violations; however, Educational Merit Credits cannot be taken away.