PORTLAND — A state prison inmate has lost his bid to have the law court order an additional two days good time credit per month during the entire time he is serving his sentence.

Glen C. Harrington III, 30, formerly of Fairfield, challenged the prison policy in an appeal argued in May before the justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Harrington’s petition to get that credit had been summarily dismissed at a Superior Court proceeding.

According to the appeal, Harrington believed that when he pleaded guilty to eluding an officer in Kennebec County in 2012, he would be eligible to take classes at the Maine State Prison to reduce his sentence.

But he soon learned that program is offered only to inmates within 18 months of release, so he challenged the Department of Corrections.

At oral arguments in May in Portland, the justices appeared reluctant to interfere with Department of Corrections operations.

And in the decision issued Tuesday, Maine Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph Jabar wrote, “Calculations of good time credits involve the department’s discretion in either determining whether an inmate’s participation in a specific program has merited good time credit or, as is the case here, whether and when to offer a program.”

The state, represented at oral arguments by Assistant Attorney General Diane Sleek on behalf of the Kennebec County district attorney, maintained that Harrington should have used a different appeal process — not post conviction review — to file his dispute over the calculation of his good time credits.

On Wednesday, District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said she was pleased with the court’s decision and deliberations, adding, “The Department of Corrections has established a set policy for good time calculations that was applied to Mr. Harrington in the same manner it does to every person housed at the department.”

Harrington’s lawyer, James T. Lawley, said Wednesday he and his client are disappointed by the decision.

“The ultimate issue is whether the Department of Corrections can write a policy which excludes inmates from good time consideration, which we believe is in conflict with the good time statute lawfully enacted by the Legislature,” Lawley said in an email sent Wednesday. “The court’s opinion (Tuesday) does not address the department’s policy, but simply says that Mr. Harrington cannot challenge the policy by petitioning the court. We are exploring other avenues for bringing the conflict between the law and the department policy to the court’s attention.”

Lawley said Wednesday that he notified Harrington of the decision by mail. Harrington is at the Maine State Prison in Warren serving a 48-month term. His earliest release date is Dec. 15, 2015, according to the website of the state Department of Corrections.

Lawley had argued that denying Harrington the credit was unconstitutional and that the post-conviction review was the proper method for handling it.

In a handwritten motion for correction of sentence, Harrington, representing himself at the time, wrote, “I took these two 48-month concurrent sentences on the grounds and understandings that I would receive nine days a month good time. After I get sentenced, I learn that I’m not allowed the nine days a month due to the fact there isn’t any programs available to me to get nine days a month. That’s not my fault.”

After a Superior Court judge dismissed his attempt to get that credit via a post-conviction review petition process, Harrington appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, challenging the interpretation of “calculation” as well as the superior court interpretation of the controlling statute.

Inmates are eligible to receive seven days a month good time credit and two extra days “following the inmate’s satisfactory completion of certain education or rehabilitation programs.”

Without that extra two days a month, Lawley calculated Harrington would serve “72 days over that intended by the Legislature.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.