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How Much Time Will I Actually Serve For a Maryland Prison Sentence? Diminution Credit.

There seems to be a commons consensus or understanding that one convicted of a crime in Maryland does not always serve the full time shown in their judgment of conviction. In many instances, that plays out in fact.

Perhaps the most commonly asked criminal law question is something to the effect of “how much of my time to I actually have to serve”. The short answer is all of it - unless you earn the right to have some of the time deducted.

Under Maryland law, these are called “diminution credits”. Once earned, these operate to lessen the time an individual spends behind bars. Not everyone convicted of a crime is eligible. The flowing offenders do not receive diminution credits:

  • An inmate who is serving a sentence for a violation of § 3-303 or § 3-304 of the Criminal Law Article [1st or Second Degree Rape] involving a victim who is a child under the age of 16 years,

  • An inmate who is serving a sentence for a violation of § 3-305 or § 3-306 of the Criminal Law Article, as the sections existed before October 1, 2017, involving a victim who is a child under the age of 16 years,

  • An inmate who is serving a sentence for a violation of § 3-307 of the Criminal Law Article involving a victim who is a child under the age of 16 years if the inmate was previously convicted of a violation of § 3-307 of the Criminal Law Article involving a victim who is a child under the age of 16 years.

Source: Section 3-702 of the Correctional Services Article.

There are several varieties of diminution credits.

Good conduct credits are earned at the rate of 10 days for each calendar month, However, if the offender is serving consecutive or concurrent sentence for a crime of violence as defined certain drug crimes, they only earn credit at the rate of 5 days for each calendar month.

Source: Section 3-704 of the Correctional Services Article.

Work tasks. Credits are also earned at the rate of 5 days "for each calendar month during which the inmate manifests satisfactory performance of assigned work tasks"

Source: Section 3-705 of the Correctional Services Article.

Credits are also earned at the rate of 5 days per month for time in “which the inmate manifests satisfactory progress in or completion of:

  • vocational courses;
  • (other educational and training courses;
  • workforce development training;
  • (cognitive-behavioral therapy;
  • (substance abuse therapy;
  • life skills training; or
  • antiviolence therapy, including anger management and conflict resolution.”

Source: Section 3-706 of the Correctional Services Article.

Work Projects. Additionally, “an inmate may be allowed a deduction of up to 20 days from the inmate's term of confinement for each calendar month during which the inmate manifests satisfactory progress” in specially selected work projects. However, credit is earned at a lesser rate if the crime for which the person has been convicted is a crime of violence or certain drug-related crimes.  

Source: Section 3-707 of the Correctional Services Article.

The maximum credit an inmate can earn is capped at 30 days per month, and less if the drugs or violence are involved in the underlying crime.

Using these numbers, it is possible to predict, if certain events unfold in the future, the time that an inmate might due. But it’s not possible to say with certainty what an inmate will serve, as by definition, the calculation necessarily involves future contingencies that may or may not occur. 

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