Bill would clarify 'good time credit' for prisoners
© Getty Images

The top Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee has introduced legislation to ensure the Bureau of Prisons correctly gives inmates days off their sentences for good behavior.

Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottHoyer: Democratic chairmen trying to bridge divide on surprise medical bills To support today's students, Congress must strengthen oversight of colleges Democratic lawmaker tears into DeVos: You're 'out to destroy public education' MORE's (D-Va.) bill would clarify that federal prisoners earn up to 54 days off their sentences each year if they exhibit cooperative behavior, which is what Congress originally intended for the "good time credit."


But Scott argued a flaw in the way the bureau calculates the credit only gives prisoners 47 days off at most instead of the intended 54. Scott said that giving prisoners another week less of time in jail each year could save nearly $1 billion over a decade.

Scott said that policies that seem "tough on crime" ultimately cost more and increase the likelihood that prisoners return to a life of crime once they're released.

“During my tenure in Congress, I have closely examined the policies that have been enacted over the last several decades and the unintended consequences those policies have had on our criminal justice system,” Scott said in a statement. 

“And for far too long, government officials have chosen to play politics by enacting so-called ‘tough on crime’ slogans such as ‘three strikes and you're out,’ ‘you do the adult crime, you do the adult time’ or so-called mandatory minimum sentencing. As appealing as these policies may sound and as expensive as they are, their impacts range from a negligible reduction in crime to an actual increase in crime," Scott continued.