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Lamagna v. Carlson


April 22, 1981


Appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, Warren W. Eginton, Judge, denying appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Affirmed.

Author: Kaufman


KAUFMAN and KEARSE, Circuit Judges, and WEINSTEIN, District Judge .*fn*

KAUFMAN, Circuit Judge :

Inmates sentenced to a definite term of years in federal prison can attempt to reduce the time they serve by accumulating either of two types of "good time" credit. The first, created by 18 U.S.C. § 4161, is called "statutory good time" or "good conduct good time." The Bureau of Prisons awards it to a prisoner who "has faithfully observed all the rules" of his institution. The second, created by 18 U.S.C. § 4162, is known as "industrial good time" or "extra good time." A prisoner accumulates it by working, for example, in the prison laundry while he is incarcerated. For purposes of an inmate's release, statutory and industrial good time are added together, and the prisoner's aggregate credit is subtracted from the end of his sentence. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 4162, 4163. When he has served his term minus his credit, the prisoner is released "as if on parole." See 18 U.S.C. § 4164. Both types of good time have long been features of American prison life. See, e.g., Grant v. Hunter , 166 F.2d 673 (10th Cir. 1948) (statutory good time); Bragg v. Huff , 118 F.2d 1006 (4th Cir. 1931) (industrial good time).

Leonard LaMagna was sentenced in federal court to serve a term of five years, and was imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. He presumably accumulated some industrial good time credit there,*fn1 for he petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the Bureau of Prisons's computation of his industrial good time was improper. LaMagna noted that 18 U.S.C. § 4206(d), which entitles most federal prisoners to parole after two-thirds of their sentence, causes the release of many inmates before the date derived by the good time calculation set forth above.*fn2 The effect, LaMagna contended, was to vitiate any incentive to accumulate industrial good time, since the prisoner would only rarely see his release date accelerated by it. To give effect to industrial good time credit, LaMagna argued, the Bureau of Prisons should deduct industrial good time credit from a date not at the end of the sentence, but after two-thirds of it has been served (the "two-thirds date"). The district court denied the writ, and we affirm.

The chance of parole under § 4206(d) does reduce a prisoner's incentive to accumulate industrial good time, but the reduction is not significant. The stimulus is already considerably diminished by the substantial likelihood the inmate will be paroled even before § 4206(d)'s "two-thirds date." See, e.g ., 18 U.S.C. § 4205(a) (making most federal prisoners eligible for parole after serving one-third of the sentence). See also 18 U.S.C. §§ 4205(b)(1) (rendering certain federal inmates eligible for parole after a period set by the sentencing judge); 4205(b)(2) (rendering certain inmates eligible for parole at the start of the sentence). Moreover, for inmates who are not paroled, industrial good time retains its effect despite § 4206(d). LaMagna's argument would force us to grant industrial good time an invariable effectiveness it has never enjoyed, and to imagine that Congress in passing § 4206(d) intended, by implication, materially to amend § 4162.*fn3 Cf. Radzanower v. Touche Ross & Co., 426 U.S. 148 (1976) (disapproving repeals by implication). Further, LaMagna's arguments apply with almost as much force to the statutory good time provisions of § 4161. If the Bureau of Prisons started deducting both from the two-thirds date, the Congress that passed § 4206(d) would see its creation take a turn never intended.

We find these reasons dispositive, but choose to rest our affirmance on an additional ground as well. LaMagna's argument, that the good time and the parole provisions of Title 18 must be interpreted so as to give effect to each in every case, is based on the false premise that the two schemes are wholly integrated. They are not. They are administered by different bodies toward distinct ends. See Moore v. Nelson, 611 F.2d 434, 438 n.8 (2d Cir. 1979). The draftsmen of § 4206(d) intended it to "complement the present statutory provisions for good time and assure that prisoners with long sentences have at least some period of supervision in the community before total release from federal custody." 122 Cong. Rec. 5163 (1976) (remarks of Rep. Kastenmeier). Both schemes are aimed, broadly, at rehabilitation. Each can result in a prisoner's release. But the drafters of § 4206(d) never intended to bevel its every feature into symmetry with the good time provisions. Each retains a power, in some cases, to preempt the other.

The judgment is affirmed.

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