WHAT DOES GOOD CONDUCT TIME ALLOWANCE MEANS
Good conduct time allowance or GCTA is the most important alphabetical representation to the prisoner. It is earned through his demeanour while serving time in the prison system. It is something that is immediately reflected on his prison record as a tentative computation on the timeline of his incarceration.
Barring any unfortunate incident, the prisoner deserves his freedom in a period of time, which is not according to the actual calendar date but rather on the legal correctional timetable. On top of said prison sentence reduction scheme, another law was passed (RA 10592). It would add more days that would reduce further the sentence, and that which is reckoned as jail time.
Let me simplify. If on a stretch an inmate earns 15 days off from every month of his penalty on a regular basis before, the recent law would add more days. Hence, a prisoner will earn up to 45 days more for every month of his incarceration.
The computation would look like this. If a person is sentenced to more than 20 years, and from the start of his incarceration he has served 10 years, as computed following the time allowance provided for by law has been used (45 days off monthly), he has already satisfied and served out his penalty already. That means that the prisoner will see freedom earlier, assuming that he has never been involved in any prison infraction or has committed any offense during the period he is serving time.
Republic Act No. 10592, otherwise known as an act amending Articles 29, 94,97, 98 and 99 of Act no. 3815 authorises the credit of preventive imprisonment and a revised schedule of good conduct time allowance in the initial computation should a penalty is handed down.
The law further allows the Director of Corrections, Chief of BJMP, Warden (provincial, district, municipal or city jail to grant allowances for good conduct. Previously, it is the Director of Corrections who is the only one authorised to grant such reduction scheme.
The provision in the computation procedure on the reduction scheme for good conduct/ behaviour incentive has the following features:
- First two years of imprisonment, 20 days off for each month.
- Third and Fifth year, 23 days off.
- Following year up to 10th year, 25 days off.
- Eleventh and successive years, 30 days off.
At any time when his services includes teaching, study or mentoring, additional 15 days off.
Appeals made by prisoner do not disturb entitlement of good conduct allowance.
The law (RA 10592) is a serious correctional provision because any officer who fails to comply with the application of said law is liable to be imprisoned (one year imprisonment), a fine of P100,000 and perpetual disqualification to hold public office. Now that is something.
To date, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the law is still in the drawing board but the entire correctional system is already busy formulating the infrastructure for its eventual application. I say that unlike before where computation was done manually through the dexterity of those assigned to the task, now it could only be done swiftly through a software program. Once encoded and provided with an equation, it is technology that would virtually process each case and in a whiff, provide the prisoner the exact date when his penalty would be over.
The law would definitely improve morale and promote hope and build confidence in the true mandate of rehabilitation in correctional administration.