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Tomassini v. Meeks

United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania

March 19, 2015

LOUIS ANTHONY TOMASSINI, JR., Petitioner,
v.
BOBBY L. MEEKS, Respondent.

OPINION [1]

SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER United States Magistrate Judge

Petitioner is a federal inmate who has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (ECF No. 1) in which he challenges the length of his placement in a Residential Reentry Center ("RRC, " formerly known as a halfway house). For the reasons set forth below, the petition is denied.

I.

A. Relevant Statutory/Regulatory/Policy Background

Several statutes and BOP policies and programs are relevant to Petitioner's case. The BOP designates an inmate's place of imprisonment. In making its designation decision, 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b) requires that the BOP consider: (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 concerning the purposes for which the sentence to imprisonment was determined to be warranted, or recommending a type of penal or correctional facility as appropriate; and, (5) any pertinent policy statement by the Sentencing Commission. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b)(1)-(5).

18 U.S.C. § 3624, as amended by the Second Chance Act ("SCA"), PL 110-199 (April 9, 2008), provides the BOP with the discretion to determine whether and how long an inmate is to be pre-released to an RRC or home confinement. At subsection (c), it provides, in relevant part:

(c) Prerelease custody.--
(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 reentry of that prisoner into the community. Such conditions may include a community correctional facility.
(2) Home confinement authority.--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.
- - -
(4) No limitations.--Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit or restrict the authority of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons under section 3621.

18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(1), (2), (4).

The SCA directed the BOP to issue new regulations regarding pre-release custody to "ensure that placement in a community correctional facility by the Bureau of Prisons is– (A) conducted in a manner consistent with section 3621(b) of this title; (B) determined on an individual basis; and (C) of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration into the community." 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(6). After the SCA was enacted, the BOP adopted regulations, codified at 28 C.F.R. § 570.22, which provide:

Inmates will be considered for pre-release community confinement in a manner consistent with 18 U.S.C. section 3621(b), determined on an individual basis, and of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration ...

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