Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. The stability of integration is essential to numerical simulations especially when solving nonlinear problems. In this work, a continuum damage mechanics model proposed by the first author is implemented with an integration method named cutting plane algorithm (CPA) to improve the robustness of the simulation. This integration method is one type of return mapping algorithm that bypasses the need for computing the gradients. We compare the current integration method with the previous direct method, and the result shows that the cutting plane algorithm exhibits excellent performance under large loading rate conditions. To enhance accuracy of the new method, a control procedure is utilized in the implementation of the algorithm based on error analysis. Thereafter, the theory of poromechanics is utilized with the damage model to account for the effects of fluid diffusion. Laboratory tests simulated with finite element method illustrate distinct behaviors of shale with different loading rates and indicate the development of microcrack propagation under triaxial compression. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.