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Krueger v. Martinez

September 3, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Sylvia H. Rambo


Before the court is: (1) Petitioner John Bryon Krueger's petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, (Doc. 1), challenging the Bureau of Prisons' ("BOP") decision to place him in a residential re-entry center ("RRC") for only five to six months prior to his release date, instead of the statutorily permitted twelve months provided for by the Second Chance Act of 2007, as codified in 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c); and (2) Petitioner's motion for limited, expedited discovery from Respondent, (Doc. 12). The parties have fully briefed these matters, and they are ripe for disposition.

I. Background

A. Facts

Petitioner is currently incarcerated at the Low Security Correctional Institution at Allenwood, Pennsylvania, serving a sentence of 80 months imposed on November 1, 2002 by the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. (Doc. 2 at 2.) Krueger pled guilty to and was convicted of conspiracy to kidnap a person in a foreign country in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 956(A)(a), and conspiracy to introduce unapproved medical devices into interstate commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. (Doc. 11-2, Decl. of Lisa Manthey ¶ 2.) Krueger has been in the custody of the BOP since April 4, 2000. (Id. at ¶ 3.) His projected release date, counting good conduct time credit, is September 17, 2010. (Id.)

Under the Second Chance Act, approximately 17-19 months before each inmate's probable release date, a unit team for each inmate meets to assess the length of time that the inmate will spend in a RRC prior to his release from custody. On February 20, 2009, Krueger's unit team convened for a review and recommended that Krueger spend the final 150-180 days in a RRC placement. According to Respondents, this recommendation was:

[B]ased on his current offense; available resources within the release district, noting that he has secured residency with his mother; financial planning, noting that he is not in destitution; employment options/academic history, noting that he has secured a job and has obtained a college degree; and his health, noting that he is in good health. (Doc. 11-2, Decl. of Lisa Manthey ¶ 6; Doc. 11-2, Attach. 4, Program Review dated July 9, 2009.) Krueger attempted, through the administrative processes, to have Respondent consider a longer RRC placement, but he was unsuccessful.*fn1

B. Statutory Background

Congress has delegated inmate placement authority to the BOP in two statutes: 18 U.S.C. §§ 3621(b) and 3624(c). Under § 3621(b), the BOP is delegated broad discretionary authority to determine the proper placement of inmates at the start of an inmate's prison term. Placement designations require consideration of five statutory factors:

(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 the sentence(A) concerning the purpose for which the sentence to imprisonment was determined to be warranted; or

(B) recommending a type of penal or correctional facility as appropriate; and

(5) any pertinent policy statement issued by the Sentencing Commission pursuant to section 994(a)(2) of title 28. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b). When considering the transfer of an inmate during the course of his imprisonment, the BOP must consider these same five factors. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b); Woodall v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 432 F.3d 235, 247 (3d Cir. 2005).

Under § 3624(c), the BOP is required to evaluate an inmate for RRC placement near the end of an inmate's sentence. The Second Chance Act amended § 3624(c) by, among other things, increasing an inmate's RRC eligibility from six to twelve months. The statute now provides, in relevant part:

(1) In general.-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 re-entry of that prisoner into the community. Such conditions may include a community correctional facility. 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(1). The Second Chance Act also requires the BOP to issue regulations which ensure that placement in a RRC is: "[1] conducted in a manner consistent with § 3621(b) of this title; [2] determined on an individual basis; and [3] of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration into the community." Id. § 3624(c)(6).

Additionally, the Second Chance Act mandated that the BOP create a federal prisoner re-entry initiative that, among other things, provides incentives for prisoners to participate in skills development programs. 42 U.S.C. § 17541(a). The authorizing statute for the prisoner re-entry initiative states, in relevant part:

The Attorney General, in coordination with the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, shall, subject to the availability of appropriations, conduct the following activities to ...

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