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Bledsoe v. Beasley

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division

October 3, 2017




         The following recommended disposition has been sent to United States District Court Judge J. Leon Holmes. You may file written objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be received by the Clerk of this Court Clerk within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of fact.



         Robert Bledsoe (“Bledsoe”) filed this habeas corpus petition on June 1, 2017, seeking an injunction related to his anticipated release to a residential reentry center (“RRC”). Citing the Second Chance Act of 2007, 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c), Bledsoe appears to seek an injunction preventing the respondent from denying him a full 12 month placement into an RRC. Docket entry no. 1, page 5. Bledsoe states the Second Chance Act increases the duration of pre-release placement in an RRC from 6 to 12 months.

         Respondent Warden Gene Beasley (“Beasley”) claims that Bledsoe's petition should be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In his response, Beasley attaches the affidavit of James D. Crook (“Crook”), the Supervisory Attorney at the United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons Consolidated Legal Center. Docket entry no. 5-1. That affidavit and its attachments establish that Bledsoe is in federal custody in Forrest City, Arkansas serving an aggregate sentence in the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) of 27 months for supervised release violations (4:00CR00260, Eastern District of Arkansas), to be followed by 120 months for possession with intent to distribute cocaine (4:09CR00107, Eastern District of Arkansas). Docket entry no. 5-1, page 1. He has a projected release date of December 29, 2018. Id., page 2.

         Crook's affidavit also establishes that Bledsoe's release plan had not yet been prepared at the time Bledsoe filed his petition and at the time of Beasley's response, in part because Bledsoe submitted a request to the BOP which identified a new address in Illinois, and which was interpreted as a request to relocate his supervision post release to the Southern District of Illinois. See id., and id., Attachment 3. That request was forwarded to the Chief Probation Officer for the Southern District of Illinois on June 12, 2007, and BOP staff was awaiting a response at the time Beasley filed his response on July 13, 2017. See id., and id., Attachment 4. Beasley states in his response that Bledsoe will be evaluated for RRC placement 17-19 months from his release date. Docket entry no. 5, page 2. Because a placement plan was not yet in place, Beasley argues that no case or controversy exists.

         Finally, Crook states that Bledsoe “has not even attempted to exhaust the administrative remedy process.” Id., page 2, and id., Attachment 2. Bledsoe admits he has not exhausted administrative remedies, stating that attempting to do so would be futile. Docket entry no. 1, page 5.

         The Court entered an Order on August 15, 2017 requesting that Beasley file a supplement to provide updated information regarding the status of petitioner's request for transfer of supervision and whether petitioner's RRC assessment had been completed. Docket entry no. 6. In his response, Beasley states that Bledsoe notified the BOP staff on July 28, 2017, that he could not move to Illinois and instead wanted to remain in Forrest City, Arkansas upon his release. Beasley further advises that the RRC assessment was completed on August 22, 2017 and recommends 181 to 270 days of RRC placement. Finally, Beasley informs the Court that the determination of Bledsoe's specific placement will be decided by the halfway house contractors, who have been provided the RRC placement recommendation. See docket entry no. 7.


         The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has consistently held that before seeking federal habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, an inmate must exhaust his available administrative remedies by presenting his claims for relief to the BOP. See, e.g., Willis v. Ciccone, 506 F.2d 1011 (8th Cir. 1974); United States v. Chappel, 208 F.3d 1069, 1069 (8th Cir. 2000).

Administrative procedures can, where available, provide an adequate and often the most expeditious review of prisoner grievances. Federal prison administrative grievance procedures must be viewed in this light. We hold that if grievance procedures provide an adequate means for impartial review, then a federal prisoner must exhaust available administrative remedies within the correctional system prior to seeking extraordinary relief in federal court. This requirement of exhaustion for federal prisoners has been recognized by several circuits and we endorse their view.... The extraordinary nature of the writ requires this. It should not be resorted to until other more conventional remedies have failed. When proper grievance procedures exist, their utilization benefits the prisoner, the prison authorities and the courts. If such procedures are given a fair chance to succeed, not only will the prisoner receive expeditious relief when he is entitled to it, the administrative burden processing federal suits places upon prison authorities will greatly decrease as well.

Willis v. Ciccone, 506 F.2d 1011, 1015 (8th Cir. 1974)(citations omitted).

         The BOP has in place a process by which inmates can seek and exhaust administrative remedies. See 28 C.F.R. § 542.10 et seq. This process promotes the following four objectives: “(1) the development of the necessary factual background upon which the claim is based; (2) the exercise of administrative expertise and discretionary authority often necessary for the resolution of the dispute; (3) the autonomy of the prison administration; and (4) judicial efficiency from the settlement of disputes at the prison level.” Mason v. Ciccone,531 F.2d 867, 870 (8th Cir. 1976). ...

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