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Khdeer v. Paul

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 29, 2018

Mazen Khdeer, Petitioner,
Warden David Paul, Respondent.

          Mazen Khdeer, Reg. No. 58611-060, Federal Medical Center, Rochester, MN 55903-4000, pro se Petitioner.

          Ana H. Voss, Esq., Assistant United States Attorney, counsel for Respondent.



         In this petition for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, Mazen Khdeer alleges that prison officials abused their discretion by reducing his placement time in a Residential Reentry Center (“RRC”). (Doc. No. 1, Habeas Pet.) Petitioner is on long-term anti-coagulation therapy due to a history of myocardial infarction (“MI”) with stent placement, and his placement time was reduced to sixty days due to his serious medical needs. For the reasons stated below, this Court recommends that the petition be denied.

         I. Background

         A. Petitioner's Conviction and Release Date

         Petitioner is currently incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota. (Doc. No. 13, Declaration of Jon Gustin (“Gustin Decl.”) ¶ 22, Ex. B at 2.) He is serving a 57-month term of imprisonment for the following convictions: Conspiracy to Launder Money; Malicious Use of Fire to Damage a Building Used in Interstate Commerce; Conspiracy to Harbor Aliens; Health Care Provider Fraud; and False Claims. (Id.) Petitioner's projected release date is March 2, 2019. (Id.)

         B. RRC Placement and Home Confinement

         The Second Chance Act of 2008 (“SCA”) authorizes the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) to grant an inmate up to twelve months in a pre-release RRC placement at the end of their sentence “to the extent practicable.” 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(1). An inmate can also be eligible for home confinement at the end of their sentence for ten percent of their term of imprisonment or six months, whichever is shorter. Id. § 3624 (c)(2). The BOP is required to consider each inmate's pre-release placement on an individual basis using five factors: (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 United States Sentencing Commission. Id. § 3621(b)(1)-(5).

         Approximately seventeen to nineteen months before an inmate's projected release date, an inmate's Unit Team will review the inmate for pre-release RRC placement and an appropriate length of home confinement, using the five factors of § 3621(b). (Gustin Decl. ¶ 8.) In addition to basic needs, such as securing identification, employment, and housing, Unit Team staff will determine if an inmate has other needs that can be met at the RRC during a potential placement. (Id. ¶ 9.) For a majority of inmates, an additional need is community drug programming. (Id.) To successfully complete what is known as a Residential Drug Abuse Program (“RDAP”), [1] an inmate must complete a minimum of 120 days in a Transitional Drug Abuse Treatment (“TDAT”) program while in community confinement. 28 C.F.R. §§ 550.53(a)(3), 550.56; (Gustin Decl. ¶ 9). Under some circumstances, an inmate who successfully completes RDAP is eligible to receive up to a twelve-month sentence reduction. 18 U.S.C. 3621(e)(2)(B); (Gustin Decl. ¶ 9). If an inmate cannot fulfill the TDAT portion of RDAP before their provisional § 3621(e) release date, their 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).

         After an inmate's Unit Team has considered the inmate's individualized needs and factors under § 3621(b) and the institution's warden has approved their recommendation regarding home confinement and an appropriate length of pre-release RRC placement and RRC location, the institution's recommendation is forwarded to the Residential Reentry Manager field office (“RRM”) that oversees the proposed RRC. (Gustin Decl. ¶ 10.) RRM staff finalize the recommendation after considering the resources of the facility contemplated. See § 3621(b)(1); (Gustin Decl. ¶ 10). RRM staff are trained to not unilaterally deny pre-release RRC referrals or reduce a placement recommendation unless there are no available RRC beds within a reasonable distance for the inmate's specific date or timeframe. (Id.)

         C. Inmates With Medical Needs

         The BOP recognizes that some inmates may not be medically suitable for community placement if they require ongoing medical treatment or have uncontrolled medical conditions. (Doc. No. 14, Declaration of Gregg Fearday (“Fearday Decl.”) ¶ 10.) An inmate who has a medical complication while on community placement may no longer be able to comply with the terms of community placement and may need to be returned to a BOP institution. (Id.) The inmate would still be able to continue to address his release needs from a BOP facility with the assistance of staff, such as social workers and the inmate's Unit Team. (Id.) By contrast, if the inmate needed hospitalization in a local medical facility, the ability to address the inmate's release needs would be severely limited. (Id.)

         Thus, when considering an inmate with complex medical conditions for a community placement, the risk of complications that could occur during the placement, including the nature and severity of the potential complications, is balanced against the inmate's need for release preparation in the community. (Id. ¶ 11.) RRM staff therefore consult with medical staff to determine whether the requisite medical services are available in the community where placement is being considered. (Id.) Based on guidance from medical ...

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