How Long Do Prisoners Typically Serve their Sentences?
Federal cases: parole has been abolished for the most part. The majority of federal criminals will serve 90% of their sentence. Texas cases: it varies depending on the crime and the decision of the Parole Board.
For capital murder, as of September 1, 2005, Texas will have a life without parole option available. A capital murder defendant sentenced to life in prison before September 1, 2005, is eligible for parole after serving forty years- but this isn’t automatic. In order to be released, they need full votes from members of the Board of Parole.
For the next group of legislatively designated serious offenses, such as murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated robbery, the defendant must generally serve at least half of their actual sentence to become eligible for parole.
However, being eligible does not mean they will be released. In reality, most prisoners are not granted parole when they first become eligible.
For other first, second, and third-degree felonies, the prisoner is eligible for parole when one-fourth of the sentence has been served. This takes into account both calendar time and good conduct time. Good conduct time is earned by participating in work and self-improvement programs but can be lost through disciplinary violations.
For state jail felons, parole eligibility does not apply. State jail felons generally serve every day of their sentence.
The length of time a person incarcerated for a misdemeanor serves in Texas differs based on the county they are jailed in. For example, in Harris County defendants usually receive two days’ credit for each day served. However, this may be different in other counties where jails are more or less crowded; resulting in three or no days credited per day served respectively.