I am interesting if penal codes in US or UK allows a convicted person to obtain release on parole after only one third of jail time, although the person never admitted the crime nor most of the prejudice is not recovered.

My question stems from a real case in Romania where an important businessman and politician was convicted to 10 years for "money laundering and prejudices to the state of 60 million Euros in the case of ICA privatization" (more details here).

However, he was released only after one third of jail time, in spite of never regretting what he did and also in spite of the fact that most of the prejudice is not recovered:

“Voiculescu had no deserving behavior, but a normal one typical to any convicted person. The defendant has not paid the prejudice in the file and not even the judiciary expenses to the Romanian state,” the prosecutor pointed out.

Question: does the law within US or UK allow parole so soon for a person in a similar context (no regrets, major prejudice).

3 Answers 3


In Colorado, there is a concept called "good time" which can reduce your sentence, roughly speaking, by 50% for most crimes and by 25% for violent crimes, if you show good behavior, although earned "good time" is not a vested right and may be revoked at any time prior to release. This is a tool that corrections officers use to encourage good behavior while inmates are incarcerated making jails and prisons more manageable.

There have been times historically, in Colorado, where more than a 50% sentence reduction was available for "good time."

"Good time" decisions primarily involve conduct while incarcerated, so the fact that "most of the prejudice is not recovered" is rarely relevant. But, while admitting that you are guilty of the crime for which you have been convicted is not expressly required to earn "good time", it would not be improper for corrections officials to deny "good time" based upon a failure to admit guilt. There would be considerable variation from correctional institution to correctional institution regarding how that factor is considered in making "good time" determinations.

For example, "good time" generally does require an inmate to participate in recommended therapy and rehabilitation activities and those activities, particularly in the cases of substance abuse and sex offenses, often require an admission of guilt to be considered to be participating successfully in those programs. So, in those cases, failure to admit guilt could very well lead to a forfeiture of good time. But, other crimes (e.g. auto theft) after rarely considered defects of character that require therapy, so it would rarely be necessary for an inmate convicted of those crimes to admit guilt in order to earn "good time".

  • "often require an admission of guilt to be considered to be participating successfully in those programs" This has been subject to multiple challenges with varying degrees of success. There's a low-grade political problem coming from keeping the rule and it may have to be changed.
    – Joshua
    Jan 26, 2022 at 0:18

In Australian jurisdictions, judges set a maximum sentence and a non-parole period (NSW law cited) i.e. a minimum amount of the sentence that must be served before the prisoner is eligible to be considered for parole.

  • The question does clearly say "US or UK" ...
    – user4657
    Aug 31, 2017 at 3:37
  • 1
    @Nij this answer is provided for the benefit of others who may search this topic in the future
    – Dale M
    Aug 31, 2017 at 4:11

Many states in the US do not (exactly) have parole, they have "determinate sentencing". Washington is one such state, though they do have an "Indeterminate Sentence Review Board" (i.e. parole board) that considers a limited set of cases (mainly those sentences before July 1 1984 when the state switched to determinate sentencing). The statute under which they operate is RCW 72.04A, and that law gives the board complete discretion to set the rules.

In Texas, certain offenses such as murder, rape, human trafficking and other so-called "3(g)" offenses require a certain percentage of the sentence to have been served: currently, that amount is 50%, but for other offenses it is 25% (or 2 years for a sentence under 4 years). This derives Sec. 508.145 of the penal code.

In no case that I know of is there a statutory requirement to show remorse or anything else. Such requirements are mediated through the practices of the parole board: it may be that a parole board would not consider a person for parole without a showing of contrition. The enabling statutes usually state the requirement in therms of not being a further threat to society. See Ohio's law here

The adult parole authority may exercise its functions and duties in relation to the pardon, commutation of sentence, or reprieve of a convict upon direction of the governor or upon its own initiative. It may exercise its functions and duties in relation to the parole of a prisoner who is eligible for parole upon the initiative of the head of the institution in which the prisoner is confined or upon its own initiative. When a prisoner becomes eligible for parole, the head of the institution in which the prisoner is confined shall notify the authority in the manner prescribed by the authority. The authority may investigate and examine, or cause the investigation and examination of, prisoners confined in state correctional institutions concerning their conduct in the institutions, their mental and moral qualities and characteristics, their knowledge of a trade or profession, their former means of livelihood, their family relationships, and any other matters affecting their fitness to be at liberty without being a threat to society.

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