United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
LORNA G. SCHOFIELD, District Judge.
Pro se petitioner Angel Argueta-Anariba seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner argues that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (the "Bureau") improperly calculated his good conduct time credit ("GCT"), and that he should be released on November 8, 2014, thirty two days before his scheduled release date of December 10, 2014. For the following reasons, the petition is denied.
The facts are taken from Petitioner's submissions and Respondent's memorandum of law and attached exhibits.
Petitioner is an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville. On November 6, 2008, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia sentenced Petitioner to 96 months of imprisonment for aggravated assault while armed in violation of D.C. Code § 22-504.01(a). Petitioner was given 410 days of credit towards his sentence for time spent in custody from September 23, 2007, until his sentencing. At various times over the course of his sentence, Petitioner was enrolled in Graduate Equivalency Degree ("GED") classes or English as a Second Language ("ESL") classes, which serve as precursors to GED classes. For the periods of time when he attended class, he was given GCT to be taken off his sentence. At present, Petitioner is to be released on December 10, 2014, with 286 days of GCT.
"[A] prisoner... in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States" may file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). In particular, an inmate "may bring a § 2241 petition to challenge the legality of disciplinary sanctions, including the loss of good time credits.'" Houston v. Linaweaver, No. 14 Civ. 2980, 2014 WL 3610908, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. July 15, 2014) (quoting Carmona v. US. Bureau of Prisons, 243 F.3d 629, 632 (2d Cir. 2001)).
A. Administrative Remedies
Generally, an inmate must exhaust all administrative remedies before filing a § 2241 petition. See Carmona, 243 F.3d at 634. However, "[a] court can excuse a failure to exhaust administrative remedies when such exhaustion would be futile....'" Rosenthal v. Killian, 667 F.Supp.2d 364, 366 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) (quoting Garcia v. Shanahan, 615 F.Supp.2d 175, 180 (S.D.N.Y. 2009)). Respondent concedes that Petitioner "has made diligent efforts to exhaust his claim." To the extent he has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, requiring Petitioner to do so would be futile in light of the proximity of his release date. Accordingly, any failure to exhaust administrative remedies is excused.
B. Good Time Credit
Inmates with sentences of more than one year of imprisonment can earn up to 54 days of GCT per year. 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1). Pursuant to the Bureau's regulations, if an inmate is "making satisfactory progress" toward earning a GED or equivalent degree, he may be awarded the full 54 days of GCT. 28 C.F.R. § 523.20(c)(1). However, if the Bureau determines that the inmate is not making satisfactory progress - including, by withdrawing from the educational program - the inmate is limited to 42 days of GCT per year. See 28 C.F.R. § 523.20(c)(2); 28 C.F.R. § 544.73(b)(iii). GCT is also subject to reduction as a result of disciplinary measures. 28 C.F.R. § 523.20(e).
The Bureau's mandatory literacy program requires those inmates who do not have high school diplomas or GEDs to participate in the program "for a minimum of 240 instructional hours or until a GED is achieved, whichever occurs first." 28 C.F.R. § 544.70. Failure to complete 240 hours of instructions in the program can result in disciplinary action. See 28 C.F.R. § 544.75. Beyond the mandatory program, participation is voluntary, but incentivized by the additional 12 days of GCT earnings contingent upon "making satisfactory progress" per year. See 28 C.F.R. § 523.20(c).
An "alien who is subject to a final order of removal, deportation, or exclusion" is exempt from any enrollment requirements and entitled to the statutory maximum of 54 days of GCT per year without regard to participation in any educational programs. 28 C.F.R. § 523.20(d).
Based on the Bureau's calculations, Petitioner earned the maximum of 54 days of GCT each for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 years. For 2009-2010, Petitioner earned 14 days of GCT after being penalized 40 days for possessing a weapon. Because Petitioner stopped attending the requisite classes between January 2011 and September 2013, he was eligible for only up to 42 days of GCT per year for that period. He earned the full 42 days for 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. For 2012-2013, he earned 15 days of GCT because he was penalized 27 days for fighting. After he ...