Effects of Earned Time for Iowa Inmates Charged with Robbery
The Iowa SAC recently completed the report, An Analysis on the Effects of Earned time for Inmates Charged with Robbery. "Good time" - or "earned time" as it is called in Iowa - is a vehicle by which incarcerated inmates are able to earn time off their sentences. Earned time policies were created to serve two functions: 1) to allow for the management of prison populations, and 2) to promote positive inmate behavior while incarcerated. The purpose of the analysis was to examine the latter contention: do earned time policies achieve their intended purpose by reducing institutional misconduct?
Institutional misconduct rates were examined among inmates who were newly admitted to prison between FY2006 - FY2008 after originally being charged with either Robbery-1 or Robbery-2. A conviction under either of these offenses requires serving a mandatory minimum sentence of 70% of the maximum prison sentence before being eligible for release. The analysis compared misconduct rates between robbery offenders serving a 70% sentence and offenders convicted of an alternative (non-70%) crime.
The analysis found that inmates serving non-70% sentences tended to have higher amounts of total misconduct than the 70% group during early incarceration. Additionally, misconduct rates tended to decrease for both groups as release approached, although this reduction occurred much earlier for the 70% percent group. Lastly, age was one of the strongest and most consistently significant predictors of institutional misconduct.