United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
William W. Caldwell United States District Judge
se petitioner, Christopher Plytas, Jr., a federal inmate
formerly housed at FCI-Schuylkill, located in Minersville,
Pennsylvania, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The petition challenges
the decision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) not to
grant him a reduction in sentence following his successful
participation in a Therapeutic Community (TC) program while
he was serving concurrent federal and state sentences in the
custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA
DOC). (ECF No. 1, Pet.). Plytas argues that the
drug and alcohol TC program he completed with the PA DOC
“is the equivalent” to the BOP's Residential
Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). (Id., p. 9). He argues he
is entitled to a reduction in sentence up to one year
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3621.
Standard of Review
corpus review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is the
appropriate means for a federal inmate to challenge a BOP
decision to challenge the “execution” of his
sentence. See Woodall v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 432
F.3d 235, 241 (3d Cir. 2005).
January 21, 2013, Plytas entered a guilty plea in the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania to being a felon in possession of
firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and
possession of stolen firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 922(j). He was sentenced to a term of 96 months'
incarceration followed by three years of supervised release.
(ECF No. 1, Pet.) The sentencing court granted permission for
Plytas to serve his sentence under “Pennsylvania
Authority.” (Id., p. 15). The sentencing court
also agreed that Plytas would “receive credit from date
of arrest on this offense 01/14/11.” (Id.)
According to Plytas, his federal sentence ran concurrent to
his related state burglaries and the BOP designated the PA
DOC as the place for him to serve his federal sentence.
(Id., p. 16)
housed in the PA DOC, Plytas completed “a therapeutic
residential community drug treatment program which is the
equivalent of the RDAP program offered in the federal
system.” (Id.) In 2015, arguing that
“[u]nder 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e) upon completion of
the RDAP Drug Program an inmate is entitled to a reduction in
sentence, ” Plytas requested a reduction in his federal
sentence from the BOP. (Id., p. 18). In November 2,
2015, his request was denied. (Id., p. 19). The BOP
advised Petitioner that:
[Y]ou are not eligible for the early release incentive
described in 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2)(B). The early
release incentive is only authorized for those inmates who
have successfully completed a program of residential abuse
treatment provided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
See 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(1). Furthermore, the
controlling federal regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 550.55(a)(2)
provides for the possibility of early release only for those
inmates who have “successfully completed a RDAP, as
described in § 550.53, during their current
commitment.” Since you have not completed “a
RDAP, as described in § 550.53, ” you are not
eligible to receive the early release incentive.
response, the BOP makes various alternative arguments for
denying and dismissing the Petition. (ECF No. 9, Mot. to
Dismiss). First, it argues the court lacks jurisdiction in
this matter because there is no in personam
jurisdiction over Plytas' current custodian,
FCI-Fairton's Warden. This argument fails as a matter of
law. Plytas filed his Petition while housed at
FCI-Schuylkill, which is located within the Middle District
of Pennsylvania. His transfer to another district does not
divest this court of jurisdiction. See Rumsfeld v.
Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 441, 124 S.Ct. 2711, 159 L.Ed.2d
513 (2004); Barden v. Keohane, 921 F.2d 476, 477 n.1
(3d Cir. 1990).
BOP's next argument is more persuasive. “The RDAP
program gives the [BOP] the discretion to alter a
prisoner's conditions of confinement or allow him a
sentence reduction of up to one year if he successfully
completes the program and his conviction was for a nonviolent
offense.” Douvos v. Quintana, 382 F.App'x
119, 112 (3d Cir. 2009)(nonprecedential). Under 18 U.S.C.
§ 3621(e), and as an incentive for an inmate's
successful completion of substance abuse treatment,
“[t]he period a prisoner convicted of a nonviolent
offense remains in custody after successfully completing a
treatment program may be reduced by the Bureau of Prisons,
but such reduction may not be more than one year from the
term the prisoner must otherwise serve.” 18 U.S.C.
§ 3621(e)(2) (B). To complete the BOP treatment program,
and therefore to become eligible for early release, an inmate
must complete all phases of the treatment program.
See 28 C.F.R. §§ 550.53, 550.55. Here, the
BOP argues that Plytas is not entitled to receive a reduction
of sentence as he has not completed a BOP RDAP program.
agree with the BOP's position. However, even if we
assumed that Plytas is correct that the PA DOC's TC is
“equivalent” to the BOP's RDAP program, and
that he successfully completed the TC program, the BOP is not
required to grant Plytas a reduction of sentence. Plytas'
premise that he is “entitled” to a sentence
reduction is unfounded. A sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C.
§ 3621(e) is left to the discretion of the BOP.
See 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2)(B); Lopez v.
Davis, 531 U.S. 230, 241, 121 S.Ct. 714, 722, 148
L.Ed.2d 635 (2001) (“When an eligible prisoner
successfully completes drug treatment, the Bureau thus has
the authority, but not the duty, both to alter the
prisoner's conditions of confinement and to reduce his
term of imprisonment.”) Thus, there is no mandatory
language in 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e) requiring a sentence
reduction, and so even if Plytas had participated in a BOP
sanctioned RDAP program, he has no statutory right to early
release under Section 3621(e). Likewise, ...