CDCR incentivizes incarcerated people to take responsibility for their own rehabilitation; promotes public safety by encouraging people to pursue educational, vocational, and self-improvement activities; and reduces recidivism by increasing the likelihood that people will successfully transition back into our communities after incarceration.
People in prison are expected to maintain good behavior, work or participate in approved rehabilitative programs and activities to give them tools and skills for their eventual return to society. Those who comply with the rules, avoid violence, and perform duties assigned to them are eligible to earn Good Conduct Credits (GCC). Those who participate in approved rehabilitative and educational programs shall be eligible to earn Milestone Completion Credits (MCC), Rehabilitative Achievement Credits (RAC), or Educational Merit Credits (EMC). The Minimum Security Credit (MSC) is awarded to all eligible incarcerated people who work in conservation (fire) camps, are trained as firefighters, or who are assigned to minimum custody status. Incarcerated people who perform a heroic act in a life-threatening situation may be eligible to receive the Extraordinary Conduct Credit (EDD).
Credits earned for good conduct and rehabilitative and educational achievements can advance an individual’s release date if sentenced to a determinate term, or advance their initial parole hearing date if sentenced to an indeterminate term with the possibility of parole. (Note: A determinate term is a sentence of specified length. An indeterminate term is a sentence of unspecified length, which ends only when the individual is granted parole by the Board of Parole Hearings.)
The only individuals not eligible to earn credits are those condemned to death or serving sentences of life without the possibility of parole. Credit-earning opportunities are available to all other incarcerated people, including those in administrative segregation housing, security housing and psychiatric services units.
Good Conduct Credits (GCC) are awarded to eligible incarcerated people who comply with all the rules within a prison and perform their duties as assigned on a regular basis. With the exception of individuals condemned to death or serving life without the possibility of parole, GCC is awarded as follows:
Violent conviction: 33.3 percent, or one day of credit for every two days served.
Nonviolent conviction (including second- and third-strikers): 50 percent, or one day of credit for every one day served.