(1) The department is authorized to grant deductions from sentences in the form of gain-time in order to encourage satisfactory prisoner behavior, to provide incentive for prisoners to participate in productive activities, and to reward prisoners who perform outstanding deeds or services.
(2)(a) The department shall establish for each prisoner sentenced to a term of years a “maximum sentence expiration date,” which shall be the date when the sentence or combined sentences imposed on a prisoner will expire. In establishing this date, the department shall reduce the total time to be served by any time lawfully credited.
(b) When a prisoner with an established maximum sentence expiration date is sentenced to an additional term or terms without having been released from custody, the department shall extend the maximum sentence expiration date by the length of time imposed in the new sentence or sentences, less lawful credits.
(c) When an escaped prisoner or a parole violator is returned to the custody of the department, the maximum sentence expiration date in effect when the escape occurred or the parole was effective shall be extended by the amount of time the prisoner was not in custody plus the time imposed in any new sentence or sentences, but reduced by any lawful credits.
(3)(a) The department shall also establish for each prisoner sentenced to a term of years a “tentative release date” which shall be the date projected for the prisoner’s release from custody by virtue of gain-time granted or forfeited as described in this section. The initial tentative release date shall be determined by deducting basic gain-time granted from the maximum sentence expiration date. Other gain-time shall be applied when granted or restored to make the tentative release date proportionately earlier; and forfeitures of gain-time, when ordered, shall be applied to make the tentative release date proportionately later.
(b) When an initial tentative release date is reestablished because of additional sentences imposed before the prisoner has completely served all prior sentences, any gain-time granted during service of a prior sentence and not forfeited shall be applied.
(c) The tentative release date may not be later than the maximum sentence expiration date.
(4)(a) As a means of encouraging satisfactory behavior, the department shall grant basic gain-time at the rate of 10 days for each month of each sentence imposed on a prisoner, subject to the following:
1. Portions of any sentences to be served concurrently shall be treated as a single sentence when determining basic gain-time.
2. Basic gain-time for a partial month shall be prorated on the basis of a 30-day month.
3. When a prisoner receives a new maximum sentence expiration date because of additional sentences imposed, basic gain-time shall be granted for the amount of time the maximum sentence expiration date was extended.
(b) For each month in which an inmate works diligently, participates in training, uses time constructively, or otherwise engages in positive activities, the department may grant incentive gain-time in accordance with this paragraph. The rate of incentive gain-time in effect on the date the inmate committed the offense which resulted in his or her incarceration shall be the inmate’s rate of eligibility to earn incentive gain-time throughout the period of incarceration and shall not be altered by a subsequent change in the severity level of the offense for which the inmate was sentenced.
1. For sentences imposed for offenses committed prior to January 1, 1994, up to 20 days of incentive gain-time may be granted. If granted, such gain-time shall be credited and applied monthly.
2. For sentences imposed for offenses committed on or after January 1, 1994, and before October 1, 1995:
a. For offenses ranked in offense severity levels 1 through 7, under s. 921.0012 or s. 921.0013, up to 25 days of incentive gain-time may be granted. If granted, such gain-time shall be credited and applied monthly.
3. For sentences imposed for offenses committed on or after October 1, 1995, the department may grant up to 10 days per month of incentive gain-time, except that no prisoner is eligible to earn any type of gain-time in an amount that would cause a sentence to expire, end, or terminate, or that would result in a prisoner’s release, prior to serving a minimum of 85 percent of the sentence imposed. For purposes of this subparagraph, credits awarded by the court for time physically incarcerated shall be credited toward satisfaction of 85 percent of the sentence imposed. Except as provided by this section, a prisoner shall not accumulate further gain-time awards at any point when the tentative release date is the same as that date at which the prisoner will have served 85 percent of the sentence imposed. State prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment shall be incarcerated for the rest of their natural lives, unless granted pardon or clemency.
(c) An inmate who performs some outstanding deed, such as saving a life or assisting in recapturing an escaped inmate, or who in some manner performs an outstanding service that would merit the granting of additional deductions from the term of his or her sentence may be granted meritorious gain-time of from 1 to 60 days.
(d) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (b)1. and 2., the education program manager shall recommend, and the Department of Corrections may grant, a one-time award of 60 additional days of incentive gain-time to an inmate who is otherwise eligible and who successfully completes requirements for and is awarded a general educational development certificate or vocational certificate. Under no circumstances may an inmate receive more than 60 days for educational attainment pursuant to this section.
(5) When a prisoner is found guilty of an infraction of the laws of this state or the rules of the department, gain-time may be forfeited according to law.
(6)(a) Basic gain-time under this section shall be computed on and applied to all sentences imposed for offenses committed on or after July 1, 1978, and before January 1, 1994.
(b) All incentive and meritorious gain-time is granted according to this section.
(c) All additional gain-time previously awarded under former subsections (2) and (3) and all forfeitures ordered prior to the effective date of the act that created this section shall remain in effect and be applied in establishing an initial tentative release date.
(7) The department shall adopt rules to implement the granting, forfeiture, restoration, and deletion of gain-time.