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Jonathan Edward Jernigan v. Warden William Scism

November 8, 2011

JONATHAN EDWARD JERNIGAN, PETITIONER
v.
WARDEN WILLIAM SCISM,
RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III

MEMORANDUM

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS MEMORANDUM IS AS FOLLOWS:

Petitioner Jonathan Edward Jernigan ("Petitioner" or "Jernigan"), an inmate presently confined at the Low Security Correctional Institution at Allenwood ("LSCI Allenwood") in White Deer, Pennsylvania, initiated the above action pro se by filing a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus ("Petition") under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1.) He also filed a supporting Memorandum of Law. (Doc. 2.)

Jernigan challenges the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP")'s reduction of the duration of his placement in a Residential Re-entry Center ("RRC") from six (6) months to sixty (60) days after he was found guilty of misconduct charges. (See Doc. 2 at 1.) He also claims that the BOP failed to comply with the Federal Prisoner Re-entry Initiative, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 17541, which requires the BOP to create an incentive program, and provides that one of the incentives may be the placement of an inmate in an RRC for the maximum allowable period. (See Doc. 1 at 6-7; Doc. 2 at 3-4, 6-10.) Specifically, Jernigan claims that the BOP failed to explain to him how incentive programs work or how to participate in them and attributes this lack of an explanation to a failure to develop an incentive program. (See id. at 3, 8-9.)

As relief, Jernigan requests that this Court declare that the BOP has failed in its duties, direct the BOP to consider him for RRC placement pursuant to the proper criteria set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c), and order LSCI Allenwood to provide him with a twelve (12) month RRC placement. (See Doc. 2 at 10.)

By Order dated July 5, 2011, service of the Petition was directed, and Respondent was directed to answer the Petition within twenty-one (21) days. (Doc. 4.) On July 26, 2011, Respondent filed a Response to the Petition (Doc. 5) along with supporting exhibits*fn1 (Doc. 5-1), and supporting authority (Docs. 5-2, 5-3). Although our July 5 Order provided Jernigan with an opportunity to file a reply brief (see Doc. 4 at 2 ¶ 4), no reply brief was filed.Accordingly, the Petition is fully briefed and ripe for disposition. For the reasons set forth below, the Petition will be denied.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On March 3, 2003, Jernigan was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky to a thirty-six (36) month term of imprisonment for possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine; aiding and abetting; and felon in possession of a firearm. (Doc. 5-1 at 3, Thomas Decl., ¶ 2.) Jernigan has been incarcerated at LSCI Allenwood since November 15, 2010, and his projected release date is February 10, 2012, via good conduct time release. (Id. at 4 ¶ 3.)

On April 9, 2008, subsequent to Jernigan's sentencing, the Second Chance Act of 2007, Pub.L. No. 110-199, Title II, § 251, 122 Stat. 657, 692 (the "Second Chance Act"), codified at 18 U.S.C. §§ 3621, 3624, was signed into law. The Second Chance Act increases an inmate's eligibility for pre-release placement in an RRC from six (6) to twelve (12) months and requires the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") to make an individualdetermination that ensures that the placement is "of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration into the community." 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(6)(C) (Apr. 9, 2008). In accordance with the statute, regulations were issued within ninety (90) days of the date of the enactment of the Second Chance Act, to ensure that placement in a community correctional facility by the BOP is conducted in a manner consistent with section § 3621(b), determined on an individual basis, and of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration into the community. 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c). Section 3621(b) states as follows:

(b) Place of imprisonment. - - The Bureau of Prisons shall designate the place of the 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 the sentence - (A) concerning the purposes for which the sentence to imprisonment was determined to be warranted; or (B) recommending a type of ...


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