Did Teresa Giudice Really Get A Reduced Jail Sentence?

Screen shot of Bureau of Prison's Website There is little doubt that the tabloids try to hype up information, especially when it comes to reality stars. Knowing this to be the case, I immediately questioned whether Teresa Giudice actually received a reduced sentence like what was portrayed in the press or whether the release date simply took into account jail credit for good behavior.

The Honorable Esther Salas imposed a federal prison term of fifteen (15) months for conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud. Mrs. Giudice surrendered to Danbury Federal Correctional Institute on January 8, 2015 in accordance with the terms of her sentence. This translated into a release date of approximately April 8, 2016. Notwithstanding this calculation, the Federal Bureau of Prisons website indicates that Teresa Giudice’s anticipated release date is February 5, 2016. Various tabloids have attempted to sensationalize the earlier release date, implying that it represents a special break that was afforded to Mrs. Giudice.

The United States Code of Federal Regulation specifies the jail credit to be afforded prisoners. Section 3624 of Title 18 provides, in pertinent part, that:

Credit Toward Service of Sentence for Satisfactory Behavior. A prisoner who is serving a term of imprisonment of more than 1 year, other than a term of imprisonment for the duration of the prisoner’s life, may receive credit toward the service of the prisoner’s sentence, beyond the time served, of up to 54 days at the end of each year of the prisoner’s term of imprisonment, beginning at the end of the first year of the term, subject to determination by the Bureau of Prisons that, during that year, the prisoner has displayed exemplary compliance with institutional disciplinary regulations.

The net effect of this provision is that Federal prisoners will serve approximately eight-five (85) percent of their term provided they comply with “institutional disciplinary regulations”. 18 U.S.C. 3624. This equates to an approximately 67 day reduction in a fifteen (15) month jail sentence like the one imposed by Judge Salas. This is clearly all that the February 5, 2016 release date represents. There isn’t anything exceptional that has occurred here, Mrs. Giudice received the same treatment that just about anyone would under the circumstances.