gavel on books with a statue of justice symbol

RRRI stands for Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive. This is a program that allow an inmate in state custody to get paroled before their minimum. At sentencing, the county judge must make the defendant RRRI eligible. If the defendant is not made RRRI eligible by the county judge, there is no way for the defendant to get into the program. The Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive program is a wonderful Pennsylvania sentencing alternative if eligible.

If a defendant is RRRI eligible, the judge must make them RRRI and has no discretion regarding this eligibility. If the defendant has not prior crimes of violence and no prior gun possession cases, most likely the defendant is eligible.

Once the defendant is in the program, the defendant must complete the program successfully in order to achieve the ultimate goal of getting paroled before their minimum.

Any crime of violence excludes the defendant from being RRRI eligible. Therefore if the conviction is for aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, murder, manslaughter, rape or any other sexual offense, the person is not eligible. The program was created for drug offenders and white collar crime. Also note, previous convictions are taken into account, so if you have any previous convictions for violence, you will not be made eligible for RRRI even if your current conviction qualifies.

RRRI Statute

The best way to understand the calculation for the reduction is in the statute itself:

§ 4505.  Sentencing.

(a)  Generally.–At the time of sentencing, the court shall make a determination whether the defendant is an eligible offender.

(b)  Waiver of eligibility requirements.–The prosecuting attorney, in the prosecuting attorney’s sole discretion, may advise the court that the Commonwealth has elected to waive the eligibility requirements of this chapter if the victim has been given notice of the prosecuting attorney’s intent to waive the eligibility requirements and an opportunity to be heard on the issue. The court, after considering victim input, may refuse to accept the prosecuting attorney’s waiver of the eligibility requirements.

(c)  Recidivism risk reduction incentive minimum sentence.–If the court determines that the defendant is an eligible offender or the prosecuting attorney has waived the eligibility requirements under subsection (b), the court shall enter a sentencing order that does all of the following:

(1)  Imposes the minimum and maximum sentences as required under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9752 (relating to sentencing proceeding generally).

(2)  Imposes the recidivism risk reduction incentive minimum sentence. The recidivism risk reduction incentive minimum shall be equal to three-fourths of the minimum sentence imposed when the minimum sentence is three years or less. The recidivism risk reduction incentive minimum shall be equal to five-sixths of the minimum sentence if the minimum sentence is greater than three years. For purposes of these calculations, partial days shall be rounded to the nearest whole day. In determining the recidivism risk reduction incentive minimum sentence, the aggregation provisions of 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 9757 (relating to consecutive sentences of total confinement for multiple offenses) and 9762(f) (relating to sentencing proceeding; place of confinement) shall apply.

(3)  Notwithstanding paragraph (2), if the defendant was previously sentenced to two or more recidivism risk reduction incentive minimum sentences, the court may, in its discretion, with the approval of the prosecuting attorney, impose the recidivism risk reduction incentive minimum sentence as provided for in paragraph (2).

(4)  Complies with all other applicable sentencing provisions, including provisions relating to victim notification and the opportunity to be heard.

Therefore, if the sentence is 3-6 years or less, you get 1/4 off the minimum, and if the sentence is greater then 3-6 you get 1/6 off the minimum. If you are eligible, its a great sentence.

Brian J. Zeiger, Esquire, is an experienced and successful criminal defense and civil rights attorney. He is a seasoned trial lawyer with significant experience before juries and judges. Brian understands civil rights cases, including Taser, Wrongful Death, Excessive Force, Police Brutality, Police Misconduct, Malicious Prosecution, Monell Claims, Sexual Assault, Prisoner’s Rights, Time Credit, Medical Malpractice, and Medical Indifference.