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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.