Utah Code 77-27-5.4 directs the Board of Pardons and Parole (Board), in collaboration with the Utah Department of Corrections (Corrections) to establish an Earned Time Program that reduces the period of incarceration for offenders who successfully complete approved programs designed to reduce recidivism.
There are two types of time cuts, mandatory and discretionary. Mandatory time cuts are given to individuals who successfully complete approved programs that are part of the individual’s case action plan (CAP). A mandatory cut is four months for completion of up to two programs, or a maximum of eight months. If the individual completes two vocational programs, only the first is considered a mandatory time cut. The second or subsequent vocational program completion may be submitted by Corrections for consideration as a discretionary time cut. The mandatory time cuts required in the Earned Time Program are established in Section 77-27-5.4. The individual programs listed within this document, developed collaboratively with Corrections, are the only programs that may potentially provide a mandatory time credit.
Discretionary time cuts may be granted for exemplary performance, completing programs beyond the two CAP priorities, or other positive accomplishments. Completing a Criminogenic and Behavioral Health program is an example of a program that may be considered for a discretionary cut. Corrections may submit a special attention request for a discretionary time cut to the Board. In deciding to grant a discretionary time cut the Board may consider all relevant factors including the nature of the offense, institutional behavior, victim impact, treatment completion, sentencing guidelines, etc.
Individuals with a life without parole sentence or who have been ordered to expire a life sentence by the Board are not eligible. The Board may order the forfeiture of earned time credits for a major disciplinary infraction, new charges, or if the Board sets a rescission hearing.
There may be circumstances when the previously ordered release date does not allow enough time for the full four- or eight-month time cut; however the Board will approve as much of a time cut as can be given while still allowing time for transition services (see Utah Code 77-27-5.4(3)(a) included in the Addendum below).
No Release Date
Some individuals do not have a release date either because they have not had an original hearing, or they are set for a re-hearing. If the individual completes a qualifying program, the Board will acknowledge the completion and consider the appropriate adjustment at the individual’s next hearing
The following is the list of programs approved for mandatory credit in the Earned Time Program. Approved programs must maintain high fidelity and performance standards, or they are subject to removal from the approved list. This list supersedes all previous lists. The effective date refers to the date the program was approved. Individuals who successfully complete the program on or after the effective date are eligible for Earned Time credit, assuming the other conditions of the statute have been met.
77-27-5.4. Earned time program.
(1) The board shall establish an earned time program that reduces the period of incarceration for offenders
who successfully complete specified programs, the purpose of which is to reduce the risk of recidivism.
(2) The earned time program shall:
(a) provide not less than four months of earned time credit each for the completion of up to two
(i) are approved by the board in collaboration with the Department of Corrections; and
(ii) are recommended programs that are part of the offender’s case action plan; and
(b) allow the board to grant in its discretion earned time credit in addition to the earned time credit
provided under Subsection (2)(a).
(3) The earned time program may not provide earned time credit for offenders:
(a) whose previously ordered release date does not provide enough time, including time for transition
services, for the Board of Pardons and Parole to grant the earned time credit;
(b) who have been sentenced by the court to a term of life without the possibility of parole;
(c) who have been ordered by the Board of Pardons and Parole to serve a life sentence;
(d) who do not have a current release date; or
(e) who have not met a contingency requirement for release that has been ordered by the board.
(4) The board may order the forfeiture of earned time credits under this section if it determines a rescission
hearing is necessary.
(5) The department shall notify the board not more than 30 days after an offender completes a program as
defined in Subsection 77-27-5.4(2)(a).
(6) The board shall collect data for the fiscal year regarding the operation of the earned time credit program,
(a) the number of offenders who have earned time credit under this section in the prior year;
(b) the amount of time credit earned in the prior year;
(c) the number of offenders who forfeited earned time credit; and
(d) additional related information as requested by the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.
(7) The board shall collaborate with the Department of Corrections in the establishment of the earned time
(8) To the extent possible, programming and hearings shall be provided early enough in an offender’s
incarceration to allow the offender to earn time credit.
Amended by Chapter 4, 2016 Special Session 3
Page updated November 16, 2022