Legal Blog

Indiana’s Credit Time Laws: The Criminal Case Plan Credit Program

19 September 2023 | Criminal Defense,  Legal Blog,  

Attorney Sean Hessler

Written by
Sean Hessler

19 September 2023

Criminal Defense,  Legal Blog,  

featured blog image

If you’ve been sentenced to incarceration in Indiana, you are probably looking for a way to reduce the time you spend there. While some people might think escaping will help, there are actually a few legal avenues to getting out from behind bars.

Indiana’s “Case Plan Credit Time” program builds on other credit time laws the state uses to reduce convicted criminals’ sentences. These individualized plans can help people work towards a life with a chance of lower recidivism likely, all while getting released ahead of their originally planned date.

Learn more about the CPCT.

Indiana Credit Time Laws

Indiana state law allows individuals to earn early release from incarceration when they meet certain requirements like good behavior or continued education.

The Case Plan Credit Time program gives low-risk individuals the chance to earn more time in programs that previously weren’t considered as part of the credit time laws.

According to the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC), the CPCT was designed with input from professionals in IDOC, along with current and former incarcerated individuals who had used a previous iteration of the credit time program.

Things to Remember with CPCT

According to IDOC information, this approach to reducing sentencing benefits individuals who might not have the capacity for previous guidelines. Individuals will work with their representatives to devise an individual case plan.

In previous iterations of a time credit program, incarcerated individuals earned time off depending on what class of crime they were in and how they performed. Some individuals could earn one day off for every day served, provided they weren’t disciplined for infractions.

Under the CPCT, individuals could earn release credit by making progress on their individual case plans. IDOC spokespeople pointed out that this approach isn’t an “easier” way for individuals to reduce their sentence. Instead, it’s a “holistic” approach, one that allows them to ready themselves to reenter society after their sentence is served.

What is an Individual Case Plan?

An individual case plan is meant to help an incarcerated person approach their time behind bars in a way to better themselves. A case plan will account for the level of crime committed and how to best intervene in a positive manner.

Basically, the plan will outline what goals the incarcerated individual should aim for during their time institutionalized. These are things that will help them avoid recidivism: committing new crimes.

A plan could include an addiction recovery treatment program, continued education, or a vocational program, or even a work program.

An individual is expected to work with their caseworker to evaluate their situation and devise their personal goals. A caseworker will not come up with the guidelines on their own.

Calculating Time Off Earned

Although sentencing in Indiana can be affected by several factors, you can discuss the possible time off you can earn with your attorney. The state has several tools, like this sentencing tool, that can help you calculate your possible release date.

There could be other reasons your release date changes, however, so it’s important to work closely with your individual case planner to ensure you’re on the best track possible to getting released.

The ratio of days earned to days served can be easily calculated by knowing what class you’re in. For instance, Class A convictions let you earn one day for every one day served, meaning you could potentially serve half of your sentence. If you were sentenced to 30 months, you could be out in 15 with good behavior.

The state does limit the amount of time you can earn: you are eligible for one-third of your sentence or two years, whichever is shorter.

Other Questions About Credit Time Laws

When Am I Ineligible for Earned Credit?

You might not earn time off if you are on probation or parole. If you are working outside of prison or jail, it cannot be a condition of your probation.

What Happens When I’m Released?

You may have continued conditions even if you are released before your original expected date. You may be expected to check in with your parole or probation officer, expect random substance use tests, have housing requirements, or lose your license.

You should discuss any post-release terms with your lawyer, as they can explain how you should handle life after early release.

Why Should I Hire a Defense Attorney?

If you’ve been sentenced to incarceration, you might not think you need a lawyer. After all, you’re already behind bars. However, an Indianapolis criminal defense attorney can help you examine early-release conditions. They’ll ensure you are able to take advantage of the CPCT credits and help defend you if the state tells you that you are ineligible. Your lawyer can also explain how to apply for these programs.

Contact An Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you’re facing jail time, you need the experience and knowledge of a criminal defense attorney who understands Indiana’s sentencing laws. Attorney Sean Hessler has experience helping clients who have been sentenced seek early release.

He can help you work on your good time credit and get back on your feet. Your life isn’t over just because you’ve been incarcerated. Attorney Hessler is ready to look at your case and help you find the best option for you.

Call (317) 886-8800 or use the online form to schedule an initial consultation.