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Gilmore v. Bradley

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

December 19, 2019

TYGANDA GILMORE, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN BRADLEY, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Matthew W. Brann, United States District Judge.

         Presently before the Court is Petitioner Tyganda Gilmore's petition for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging the Bureau of Prisons' decision not to place him in a residential reentry center (“RRC”).[1]Respondent submitted an Answer.[2] and Petitioner has now filed a reply.[3] For the reasons that follow, the Petition will be dismissed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner is presently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Center at Allenwood in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, and has a projected release date of January 28, 2020.[4] On July 18, 2019, Petitioner's unit team considered him for RRC placement using the five factor criteria set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b) as well as public safety risk.[5] The unit team determined that Petitioner could not be placed in a residential reentry center based on a review of his file and applicable BOP policy.[6] Specifically, a detainer with the Richland County Sheriff's Office in Columbia, South Carolina had been lodged against Petitioner.[7]

         After that decision, Petitioner filed the instant habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, arguing that he should have received a RRC placement and that participation in the non-residential drug course guarantees him six months of RRC placement.[8] Petitioner admits that he did not exhaust his administrative remedies, stating that doing so would be “futile.”[9]

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         A habeas corpus petition is the proper mechanism for a federal prisoner to challenge the “fact or duration” of his confinement.[10] “Section 2241 is the only statute that confers habeas jurisdiction to hear the petition of a federal prisoner who is challenging not the validity but the execution of his sentence.”[11] A challenge to a residential reentry center placement is properly brought pursuant to § 2241 as it involves the execution of a prisoner's sentence.[12]

         B. Analysis

         Petitioner is challenging a decision not to place him into a residential reentry center due to a detainer lodged against him. The Petition must be dismissed because Petitioner has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.

         A prisoner must exhaust all stages of the administrative remedy system prior to the filing of a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241.[13] Requiring inmates to exhaust their remedies serves a number of purposes, such as “(1) allowing the appropriate agency to develop a factual record and apply its expertise facilitates judicial review; (2) permitting agencies to grant the relief requested conserves judicial resources; and (3) providing agencies the opportunity to correct their own errors fosters administrative autonomy.”[14] Exhaustion of administrative remedies requires compliance with an agency's deadlines, other critical procedural rules, and all steps of the available administrative process.[15]

         Relevant here, in order to exhaust administrative remedies, a federal prisoner must first attempt to informally resolve the dispute with institution staff.[16] Then, if informal resolution efforts fail, the prisoner may raise his complaint to the warden of the institution in which he is confined.[17] If the warden denies the administrative remedy request, the prisoner may next file an appeal with the regional director within twenty days from the date of the warden's response.[18] Finally, if the regional director denies the appeal, the prisoner may then appeal that decision to the general counsel of the Federal Bureau of Prisons within thirty days from the date of the regional director's response.[19]

         Here, Petitioner admits that he has not filed any grievances regarding the decision not to place him a residential reentry center.[20] As such, Petitioner has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, and the petition should be dismissed unless exhaustion may be excused.[21]

         The failure to exhaust may be excused if (1) it would be futile, (2) the actions of the agency clearly and unambiguously violate a statutory or constitutional right, or (3) the administrative remedy process would be clearly inadequate to prevent irreparable harm.[22] Petitioner argues only that “my resort to administrative remedys would be futile, ”[23] because his “case would go ultimately before the office that ...


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