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Brown v. Prisons

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

May 28, 2013

AMY BROWN, No. 22497-045, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN JAMES CROSS, and BUREAU OF PRISONS, Respondents.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DAVID R. HERNDON, Chief District Judge.

Petitioner Amy Brown is currently incarcerated in the Greenville Federal Correctional Institution ("Greenville"), located within the Southern District of Illinois. Brown brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 5). She challenges the prison administration's failure to place her in a Residential Reentry Center ("RRC") and on home confinement for sufficient time leading up to her November 18, 2013, projected release date to reintegrate into society, as contemplated by the Second Chance Act of 2007, 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c). Brown also contends that her Good Conduct Time ("GCT") has been miscalculated under 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b), shortchanging her by 21 days.

This matter is now before the Court for preliminary review of the petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in United States District Courts. Rule 4 provides that upon preliminary consideration by the district court judge, "[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner." Rule 1(b) of those Rules gives this Court the authority to apply the rules to other habeas corpus cases.

1. Guiding Legal Standards

A petition seeking habeas corpus relief is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 when a petitioner is challenging the fact or duration of confinement. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 490 (1973); Waletzki v. Keohane, 13 F.3d 1079, 1080 (7th Cir. 1994). Section 2241 is also available to challenge projections of Good Conduct Time. See Preiser, 411 U.S. at 487; Walker v. O'Brien, 216 F.3d 626, 635 (7th Cir. 2000). The writ of habeas corpus may be granted where the defendant is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States. See 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).

Under 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c) (the Second Chance Act, ) the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has the authority to place inmates in community confinement facilities during the final portion of their sentences for up to 12 months. Specifically:

The Director of the Bureau of Prisons shall, to the extent practicable, ensure that a prisoner serving a term of imprisonment spends a portion of the final months of that term (not to exceed 12 months), under conditions that will afford that prisoner a reasonable opportunity to adjust to and prepare for the reentry of that prisoner into the community. Such conditions may include a community correctional facility.

Id.

The plain language of the Act establishes that inmates are not entitled to the full 12 months of placement in an RRC. Section 3624(c)(1) requires only that "to the extent practicable, " the BOP must allow an inmate to spend "a portion of the final months" of his term under conditions that will allow him to prepare and adjust for reentry into the community. Id. The language is discretionary, and there is simply no guarantee to placement for the maximum amount of time available.

Section 3624(c)(2) further provides: "The authority under this subsection may be used to place a prisoner in home confinement for the shorter of 10 percent of the term of imprisonment of that prisoner or 6 months." Id.

In exercising its discretion under Section 3624(c), the BOP must make its decision on an individual basis, and in a manner consistent with 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b), in order to "provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration into the community" 28 C.F.R. § 570.22. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b) lists the following factors to be considered in the BOP's evaluation:

(1) the resources of the facility contemplated;
(2) the nature and circumstances of the offense;
(3) the history and characteristics of ...

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