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Jackson v. Marques

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

June 8, 2018

Alonzo Jackson, Petitioner,
Warden R. Marques, Respondent.

          Alonzo Jackson, 13834-089 K-4, FCI Sandstone, PO Box 1000, Sandstone, MN 55072, pro se Petitioner.

          Ana H. Voss, Esq., Ann M. Bildtsen, Esq., Bahram Samie, Esq., Assistant United States Attorneys, counsel for Respondent.


          BECKY R. THORSON, United States Magistrate Judge.

         In this action under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, Petitioner Alonzo Jackson contends that prison officials abused their discretion by reducing the length of his pre-release placement in a residential reentry center (“RRC” or “halfway house”). (Doc. No. 1, Habeas Pet.) For the reasons stated below, this Court recommends that Petitioner's § 2241 action be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, or in the alternative, be denied on the merits.


         Petitioner is a federal prisoner who, at the time he filed this action, was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sandstone, Minnesota (“FCI Sandstone”). (Habeas Pet. 1; Doc. No. 7, Decl. of Jon Gustin (“Gustin Decl.”) ¶ 22, Ex. B.) Petitioner was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. (Id.) He is serving a 40-month and 14-day term of imprisonment. (Id.) His projected release date is October 21, 2018. (Id.) This is an early release date pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 3621(e) for the successful completion of a Residential Drug Abuse Program (“RDAP”). (Id.)

         Inmates can be designated to an RRC as a pre-release placement at the end of their sentence. (Gustin Decl. ¶¶ 5, 8.) They also may be eligible for home confinement for a portion of their pre-release RRC placement. (Id. ¶ 5.) At RRCs, staff can help inmates with the basic needs of securing identification, employment, and housing, and provide other programs and services, such as community drug programming. (Id. ¶ 9.) In the Second Chance Act of 2007 (“SCA”), Congress increased the maximum allowable time for such placements by providing the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) with authority to grant “to the extent practicable” an inmate up to twelve months in a pre-release RRC placement at the end of the inmate's sentence. 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(1); (Gustin Decl. ¶ 5). The SCA also authorizes the BOP to place an inmate on home confinement for a period of ten percent of the inmate's term of imprisonment or six months at the end of the sentence, whichever is shorter. 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(2); (Gustin Decl. ¶ 5.)

         An inmate's request for RRC or home confinement placement is evaluated using the following criteria: (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 issued by the Sentencing Commission pursuant to section 994(a)(2) of Title 28. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b); 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(6); (Gustin Decl. ¶ 6). Inmates are evaluated for prerelease RRC placement and/or home confinement 17-19 months before their projected release dates. (Gustin Decl. ¶ 8.) After an inmate's individualized assessment for prerelease placement under the § 3621(b) factors has been conducted, the institution's recommendation is forwarded to the Residential Reentry Manager's (“RRM”) office overseeing the proposed RRC. (Id. ¶ 10.) RRM staff will finalize the recommendation after considering § 3621(b)(1), i.e., the resources of the facility contemplated. (Id.)

         Congress also mandates, subject to available funding, that the BOP “shall provide residential substance abuse treatment . . . for all eligible prisoners.” 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(1)(C). The incentive for prisoners to enroll in the RDAP is a possible reduction in sentence of up to one year. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2)(B); (Gustin Decl. ¶ 9). To successfully complete RDAP, inmates must complete a minimum of 120 days in a Transitional Drug Abuse Treatment (“TDAT”) program while in community confinement, such as an RRC or home confinement. 28 C.F.R. § 550.53(a)(3). If inmates cannot fulfill the TDAT portion of RDAP before their provisional § 3621 release date, the provisional release date can be adjusted “by the least amount of time necessary to allow inmates to fulfill their treatment obligations.” 28 C.F.R. § 550.55(c)(3); (Gustin Decl. ¶ 9).

         BOP Unit Team Staff reviewed Petitioner under the § 3621(b) factors for a prerelease RRC placement on December 15, 2017. (Gustin Decl. ¶ 23, Ex. C.) Unit Team Staff recommended that Petitioner be placed into a pre-release RRC near Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on April 25, 2018, after completion of the RDAP. (Id.) Unit Team Staff noted that Petitioner had been approved relocation of his supervision from the Eastern District of Wisconsin to the Western District of Wisconsin to reside with his girlfriend, he had his GED, was participating in RDAP, paid his court-imposed financial assessment, and took a few education courses. (Id.) They also noted Petitioner has been encouraged to maintain family ties through telephone, email, letters, and visits as often as possible. (Id.) At the time this recommendation was made, Petitioner's projected release date was October 21, 2018. (Gustin Decl. ¶ 24, Ex. C at 1.)

         FCI Sandstone's recommendation was referred to the Chicago RRM's Office to be finalized after consideration of the § 3621(b)(1) factor. (Id. ¶ 24.) The RRM Staff determined the most appropriate RRC for Petitioner would be Wisconsin Community Services, Wisconsin. (Id.) That facility, however, had been operating over contract capacity, and the RRM Staff was managing bed space allocation by adjusting inmates' pre-release RRC placement dates. (Id.) Because resources were not available in the community for a longer placement, the RRM Staff determined that Petitioner's prerelease RRC placement should be postponed until June 20, 2018 (reducing the original recommendation of 180 days to a pre-release RRC placement of 122 days).[1] (Id.)

         This new placement date still allowed Petitioner time to complete the TDAT portion of RDAP, and attend to other release needs, prior to his scheduled October 21, 2018, release date. (Id.)


         Petitioner argues that the BOP abused its discretion by not following the factors enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b) when deciding on his RRC placement. (Habeas Pet. 6-7; Doc. No. 9, Pet'r's Resp. to Mem. in Opp'n (“Pet'r's Resp.”) 7.) Petitioner also argues that his RRC placement was not considered on an individual basis, and the amount of time for placement is not “of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration into the community.” 28 C.F.R. § 570.22; (Habeas Pet. 7; Pet'r's Resp. 8). Respondent argues that the petition should be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction because BOP decisions on RRC and home placement are not subject to review under the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”). (Doc. No. 6, Resp't's Resp. to Petition (“Resp't's Resp.”) 9-12.) Alternatively, Respondent ...

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