Changes Regarding the Awarding of Diligent Participation Credit to Defendants
Confined in a State Jail Felony Facility
By Judge Carroll Wilborn
n 2011, the 82nd Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2649 to allow the awarding of time credits to
state jail felony offenders who diligently participated in certain educational, vocational, treatment,
or work programs. After the recent 84th Legislative Session, Governor Abbott signed into law House
Bill 1546, which amends Chapter 42 of the Code of Criminal Procedure regarding the awarding of diligent
participation credit to defendants confined in a state jail felony facility. This change applies to an offense
committed on or after September 1, 2015.
Per the new Article 42.0199, CCP, “the judge shall make a finding and enter the finding in the judgment of
the case regarding whether the person is presumptively entitled to diligent participation credit in accordance
with Section 15(h), Article 42.12.” This finding or lack of finding of presumptive entitlement will determine if
a state jail offender’s time is automatically credited for diligent participation.
If the defendant receives the presumptive finding, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will credit up to
one-fifth of the time the defendant was required to serve in the facility. If the defendant does not receive the
presumptive finding, TDCJ will continue to notify the sentencing court of the number of days the defendant
diligently participated in an eligible program, and the judge may then credit up to one-fifth of the original time
required to serve in the facility against the defendant’s sentence at his or her discretion.