United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Beard (Petitioner) filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus
under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging his payment
structure under the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program
(IFRP). (Doc. 1). Based on the following, the § 2241
petition is DENIED.
Facts and Procedural History
2006, a jury in the Western District of Michigan found
Petitioner guilty of multiple counts related involvement in
conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. United
States v. Beard, No. 05-cr-20 (W.D. Mich.), Doc. 424.
The District Court sentenced Petitioner to 120 months
incarceration for being a felon in possession of a firearm;
420 months for engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise;
and 240 months for tampering with a witness-all to be served
concurrently followed by five years of supervised release; in
addition to payment of $500 special assessment and fine of
$25, 000. (Doc. 553 of criminal case). The Court specified at
the sentencing hearing that Petitioner “pay a fine in
the amount of $25, 000, to be paid at the rate of $50 per
quarter while he is on the Inmate Financial Responsibility
Program participation, or $50 per month while he's on
UNICOR earnings.” (Doc. 1-1, p. 7). The written judgment
provides, “Defendant shall pay minimum
quarterly installments of $50.00, based on IFRP participation
or minimum monthly installments of $50.00, based on
UNICOR earnings, whichever is greater. . .” (Doc. 553,
p. 7 of criminal case) (emphasis added). Petitioner is
currently incarcerated at USP Marion.
for Habeas Relief
voluntarily enrolled in the IFRP, a program where
“staff members from the Bureau of Prisons assist
inmates in developing plans to meet their financial
obligations.” United States v. Boyd, 608 F.3d
331, 333 (7th Cir. 2010). Participation is voluntary, but
inmates who refuse to take part lose privileges identified in
28 C.F.R. § 545.11(d), including “participating in
the UNICOR prison job training program, furloughs, and
outside work details, and having higher commissary spending
limits, access to higher-status housing, and access to
community-based programs.” Id.
initially made payments of $50 per quarter under the program,
(Doc. 11, Ex. C), but in August 2013, Petitioner's case
manager determined he should pay $100 per month, (Doc. 1-1,
p. 1). Petitioner refused to render the increased payments,
(Doc. 1-1, p. 1), and the BOP's disciplinary committee
found Petitioner in violation of Code 306 (Refusing a Program
Assignment), (Doc. 18, p. 2). Consequentially,
Petitioner's phone and commissary privileges were
suspended for thirty days, and he was removed from privileged
housing. (Doc. 22, pp. 1-2). The disciplinary committee
subsequently expunged the incident from Petitioner's
record and restored his privileges. (Doc. 22, pp. 1-2).
now asserts his judgment and sentence prohibit the BOP from
collecting payments in excess of $50 per month. He requests
the Court limit his BOP payments to $50 per month and review
all IFRP Code 306 violations at USP Marion. (Doc. 22, p. 3).
first argument is two-fold. He asserts the District
Judge's oral pronouncement, ordering Petitioner to pay
“$50 per quarter, ” trumps the written judgment,
which provides Petitioner shall pay “minimum
quarterly installments of $50.” He then contends the
pronouncement prohibits the BOP from demanding more than $50
from Petitioner per month through the IFRP.
unclear from the pleadings whether Petitioner is currently
participating in the IFRP and therefore presents a live case
or controversy for this Court to adjudicate. Respondent
states in its last motion that Petitioner refused to remit
$100 per month but continued to participate in the IFRP by
paying smaller amounts. (Doc. 18, p. 3 n.1). The incident
report and Petitioner's filings, however, indicate he was
effectively unenrolled from the program after refusing to
agree to the higher payments. Regardless of the
circumstances, Petitioner's claim fails on the merits.
District Judge who sentenced Petitioner structured
Petitioner's payment schedule under the IFRP:
“[Petitioner] shall pay a fine in the amount of $25,
000, to be paid at the rate of $50 per quarter while he is on
the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program participation, or
$50 per month while he's on UNICOR earnings.” (Doc.
1-1, pp. 13-14). The judge's imposition into the
BOP's administration of the IFRP is inconsistent with the
Seventh Circuit's interpretation of the judiciary's
role in the program.
Seventh Circuit has confirmed that an inmate's
participation in the IFRP is voluntary. Boyd, 608
F.3d at 334. While an inmate may lose certain privileges by
not participating in the program, neither the BOP nor the
District Court can compel participation. Id. at 335.
The Seventh Circuit has further explained:
Because a prisoner's earnings while in custody depend on
the Bureau of Prisons, as well as the prisoner's
co-operation with its programs, it is not clear what payment
schedule a court could set if it wanted. . . Prison earnings
and other transactions concerning prison trust accounts are
so completely within the Bureau of Prisons' control ...