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Politics & Government

Senate to consider increasing transparency about good-time credits for incarcerated Delawareans

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Sophia Schmidt
/
Delaware Public Media

State Senators will consider a bill to help incarcerated people track credits they receive for good behavior.

Incarcerated people earn the “good time” credits by working, taking classes or participating in community service projects. Because the credits can shave days or months off a sentence, they are an incentive to stay on track for release.

So when Ashley Weyre, who spent nearly ten years in custody, learned a prison administrator was refusing to give credits for time spent working in outside jobs, she blew the whistle. Though Delaware’s Department of Correction fixed the issue, Weyre says administrators retaliated against her - a problem she brought to House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear).

"They got mad at me, so they started messing with my time, and I think that influenced the bill that she put in place," said Weyre, "just to make sure people were getting documents every few months to see that their good time is being applied.”

Longhurst handed the bill off to state Rep. Larry Lambert (D-Claymont). It would require that incarcerated people receive quarterly reports outlining how much good time they accrued or lost and the reasons therefor. The bill also raises the bar for forfeiting good time from any violation of prison rules to only serious infractions.

Delaware Department of Correction Deputy Chief Paul Shavack says his department backs the plan.

If there are any noted discrepancies in good time accounting, the bill provides recourse for the incarcerated to work with a correctional counselor or designee to review and resolve," he said during a hearing before the Senate Corrections and Public Safety Committee last week. "The department agrees and supports the need to provide clear, consistent and accurate accounting of good time to our incarcerated population.”

The House passed the bill unanimously earlier this month.

The Senate’s Corrections and Public Safety Committee released the bill last week; it now heads to the Senate floor.