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Skinner v. Miner

September 6, 2007

CALVIN KARL SKINNER, JR., PETITIONER,
v.
JOHN MINER, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (judge Vanaskie)

MEMORANDUM

Calvin Karl Skinner, Jr. commenced this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on July 31, 2007. He is currently a federal inmate confined at the Low Security Correctional Institution at Allenwood (LSCI-Allenwood), Pennsylvania. Named as Respondent is John Miner, Warden at LSCI-Allenwood. In the petition, Skinner seeks approval for placement in a Residential Re-Entry Center ("RRC") in the New York City area. He complains that the Bureau of Prisons is intentionally circumventing the award to him of a six (6) month RRC placement pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c) by asserting that the United States Probation and Parole Office for the Southern District of New York has failed to approve such placement. He requests an immediate transfer to an RRC in New York City. Service of the petition was directed on August 1, 2007. (Dkt. Entry 4.) A response was submitted on August 20, 2007.

(Dkt. Entry 9.) For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.*fn1

I. Background

The underlying facts in this case are not in dispute. On May 19, 2006, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Skinner was sentenced on wire fraud charges to a twenty-four (24) month prison term with a three (3) year term of supervised release. With credit for good conduct, he is currently projected to be released on December 24, 2007. Skinner contends that he became eligible for release to a community confinement halfway house on or about June 24, 2007. He specifically requests to be placed in a RRC in the area of New York City. He argues that such a placement is warranted because he was a resident of New York City when he was arrested and had continuously resided there since 1998; he has professional relationships with New York and a greater possibility of securing better employment there; he has no ties with the Western District of Pennsylvania, where he was born, educated and convicted; and there are doctors in New York that are familiar with his medical history.

Although Skinner's Unit Team was willing to recommend placement in an RRC for up to 180 days, the recommendation could not be made to a facility in the Southern District of New York without approval from the probation office in that district. In an attempt to seek RRC placement for Skinner in the New York City area, the BOP submitted requests for approval to the probation office in the Southern District of New York on two occasions, and both requests were denied.

Prior to being notified of the denial of the second request, Skinner's Unit Team sent a "Referral for CCC Placement" to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a location within the district of conviction, recommending RRC placement for 90 to 120 days, which would basically be the remainder of Skinner's sentence if approved. In his Traverse, Skinner represents that he has been approved for a placement in a Pittsburgh RRC, commencing September 11, 2007.

II. Discussion

Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b), the BOP is vested with authority to determine the location of an inmate's imprisonment. The statute grants the BOP authority not only to designate the place of imprisonment, but also lists five (5) factors for consideration in making placement and transfer decisions. Section 3621(b) provides as follows:

(b) Place of imprisonment. The Bureau of Prisons shall designate the place of prisoner's imprisonment. The Bureau may designate any available penal or correctional facility that meets minimum standards of health and habitability established by the Bureau, whether maintained by the Federal Government or otherwise and whether within or without the judicial district in which the person was convicted, that the Bureau determines to be appropriate and suitable, considering --

(1) the resources of the facility contemplated;

(2) the nature and circumstances of the offense;

(3) the history and characteristics of the prisoner;

(4) any statement by the court that imposed ...


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