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Adams v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 15, 2014

CLARENCE A. ADAMS, Petitioner,
v.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM

JAMES K. BREDAR, District Judge.

Pending in the above-captioned petition for writ of habeas corpus is respondent's motion to dismiss or for summary judgment. ECF No. 24. Although petitioner was advised of his right to file a response in opposition and of the consequences of failing to do so (ECF No. 25), he has filed nothing further in this case. Resolution of this matter does not require an evidentiary hearing. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons set forth below, the petition shall be denied.

Background

Petitioner Clarence Adams ("Adams"), an inmate committed to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), claims he was improperly denied early release from prison after he participated in a Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). ECF No. 1 and 9. Adams was convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina and sentenced to serve 115 months with three years of supervised release. ECF No. 24 at Attachment A.

Adams was screened for eligibility for participation in RDAP and early release. ECF No. 24 at Attachment C. While Adams was determined to be eligible to participate in RDAP, it was also determined that he was not eligible for early release because his offense involved the carrying, possession, or use of a firearm and the nature of his offense presented a serious potential risk of physical force against the person or property of another. Id. Adams takes issue with this determination because there was no gun present on his person or in his vehicle at the time he was arrested. ECF No. 1 at p. 1. He further claims the offense for which he was convicted was a non-violent crime and the "gun enhancement" involved a gun found in a house that was not his. ECF No. 9 at p. 8. Adams claims he should not be held accountable for the weapon since he was not present at the time the gun was found and has no idea where the gun was found. Id. He states he should be given the full benefit of the one-year early release under RDAP. Id.

Standard of Review

A motion for summary judgment will be granted only if there exists no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In other words, if there clearly exist factual issues "that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party, " then summary judgment is inappropriate. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250; see also Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Properties, 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987); Morrison v. Nissan Motor Co., 601 F.2d 139, 141 (4th Cir. 1979); Stevens v. Howard D. Johnson Co., 181 F.2d 390, 394 (4th Cir. 1950). The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Pulliam, 810 F.2d at 1286 (citing Charbonnages de France v. Smith, 597 F.2d 406, 414 (4th Cir. 1979)).

Analysis

Under 18 U.S.C. § 3621, the BOP "shall make available appropriate substance abuse treatment for each prisoner the Bureau determines has a treatable condition of substance addiction or abuse." 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b). Prisoners convicted of non-violent offenses who successfully complete a treatment program may have their remaining period of confinement reduced by up to one year. See 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2)(B). Otherwise, prisoners who successfully complete an RDAP shall remain in the custody of the BOP under such conditions deemed appropriate. See 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2)(A).

The RDAP consists of three phases: 1) the unit-based residential program; 2) the institution transition phase, and 3) the community transitional services phase. 28 C.F.R. §§ 550.56-550.59. Successful completion of the program requires completion of each of the three phases; at that point, the inmate becomes eligible for incentives including early release. Id.

The first phase of the RDAP is the residential unit-based component. See Program Statement 5330.10, Drug Abuse Programs Manual - Inmate, Ch. 5, Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Programs, www.bop.gov. This phase is comprised of a course of individual and group activities provided by a team of drug abuse treatment specialists and the drug abuse treatment coordinator in a treatment unit set apart from the general prison population. Id. The residential component of the treatment program lasts a minimum of 500 hours, over a six to twelve-month period. See 28 C.F.R. § 550.56. Upon successfully completing the residential component, and if time allows, inmates enter the second phase which is the institution transitional services component. See Program Statement 5330.10, Drug Abuse Programs Manual - Inmate, Chapter 7, Transitional Services, www.bop.gov. During the second phase, inmates are given counseling support while they transition back into general population at the facility. Id. The third phase of the RDAP is community-based transitional services. Id. In the final phase of the program, inmates participate in drug treatment programs and receive counseling support in a community-based program to facilitate transition back into their respective communities. Id.

Participation in the RDAP is strictly voluntary, see 28 C.F.R. § 550.56, but in order to encourage participation in the program, the BOP offers a number of incentives to inmates, which include financial awards, consideration for the maximum period of time at a community corrections facility, and assignment to preferred living quarters. See 28 C.F.R. § 550.57. Once an eligible inmate successfully completes the residential drug abuse treatment program, he "may be eligible... for early release by a period not to exceed 12 months." 28 C.F.R. § 550.58. However, successful completion of Phase I, the residential drug abuse treatment program, does not result in early release. Rather, the inmate then enters Phase II, institutional transitional drug treatment services programming. 28 C.F.R. § 550.59. Finally, the ultimate incentive may be provided an eligible inmate after successfully completing all phases of the treatment program. That is, an inmate may be eligible for early release, but only if he "completes all applicable transitional services in a community-based program." 28 C.F.R. § 550.58(a)(3)(I).

The regulation pertinent to Adams's claim provides in part:

An inmate who was sentenced to a term of imprisonment pursuant to [the Sentencing Guidelines] for a nonviolent offense, and who is determined to have a substance abuse problem, and successfully completes a residential drug abuse treatment program during his or her current commitment may be eligible, in accordance with ...

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