Now before the court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 by Edward Lee Carter, an inmate of the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City, Arkansas. Petitioner is serving a twenty-one month sentence of imprisonment imposed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas pursuant to his conviction in February of 2006 on the charge of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. He does not challenge his conviction or his sentence in these proceedings. His sole claim in this petition is his challenge to the Bureau of Prison's (BOP's) interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c),*fn1 the statute that governs the transfer of inmates to residential re-entry centers (RRC's)*fn2 before their release from imprisonment, and 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b),*fn3 the statute that gives the BOP the general power to designate where a prisoner is housed during his term of imprisonment.
This is one of several cases litigated before this court concerning the BOP's transfer of inmates to RRCs. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in Fults v. Sanders, 442 F.3d 1088 (8th Cir. 2006), that a regulation adopted by the BOP in February of 2005 that limited placement in an RRC to the last ten percent of an inmate's sentence was invalid. In light of Fults, Respondent has filed a pleading in this case stating the BOP is modifying its procedures for institutions in this circuit, and that Petitioner will be evaluated for RRC placement utilizing the procedures outlined in Program Statement 7310.04, Community Corrections Center Utilization and Transfer Procedure, dated December 16, 1998. Respondent further states that, under this policy statement, the Bureau "will be basing RRC recommendations on statutory (18 U.S.C. § 3621(b)), correctional, and population management interests, e.g., length of sentence, seriousness of current offense, criminal history, programming needs of the inmate, availability of facilities, availability of necessary healthcare, public safety, etc. Consistent with Program Statement 7310.04, recommendations regarding RRC placement will occur 11 to 13 months before the inmate's projected release date." Respondent argues this petition, therefore, should be dismissed as moot. The court is not convinced the petition is moot at this point.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that this petition be, and it is hereby, granted. In accordance with Fults, Respondent is ordered to consider Petitioner for transfer 11 to 13 months before his projected release date, utilizing the procedures outlined in Program Statement 7310.04, dated December 16, 1998, basing its CCC/RRC recommendations on the factors in § 3621(b).