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Walton v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

February 5, 2008

GARLAND WALTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the Court on defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. For the reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss this action.

I. BACKGROUND

At all times relevant to the Complaint, plaintiff was a prisoner at the Federal Correctional Institution in Waseca, Minnesota ("FCI Waseca") serving a 27-month sentence for a violation of the terms of his supervised release. Compl. at 1. According to BOP's Inmate Locator (http://bop.gov/inmate_locator/index.jsp), plaintiff was released on September 19, 2007. He now resides in Springfield, Illinois.*fn1

Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c), plaintiff sought placement in a community corrections center ("halfway house") for the last six months of his prison term. See Compl. at 2. In relevant part, 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c) provides:

The Bureau of Prisons shall, to the extent practicable, assure that a prisoner serving a term of imprisonment spends a reasonable part, not to exceed six months, of the last 10 per centum of the term to be served under conditions that will afford the prisoner a reasonable opportunity to adjust to and prepare for the prisoner's re-entry into the community.

Id.

Plaintiff alleges that Jenny Jones, then his Case Manager, "denied [him] any time in a halfway house" prior to his release "based, in part, on the fact that Plaintiff refused to complete a Release Preparation Program." Compl. at 2. Plaintiff disputes this basis of Ms. Jones' decision, and states that "in fact [he] was participating in [a Release Preparation Program]." Id. Plaintiff alleges that Ms. Jones made her decision to deny him a halfway house placement "based upon Plaintiff being an African-American," thus "discriminat[ing] against Plaintiff on the basis of his race." Id. at 3. It appears that, subsequently, the Warden designated plaintiff to a halfway house for the last month of his sentence. See Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment ("Defs.' Mot."), Ex. A (Jones Decl.) ¶ 3; Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss/Motion for Summary Judgment ("Pl.'s Opp'n") at 2-3.

Plaintiff challenged the denial of a halfway house placement through the inmate grievance procedure. See Compl., Attach. (October 17, 2006 Central Office Administrative Remedy Appeal). Harrell Watts, National Inmate Appeals Administrator, concluded that the Warden's decision as to the length of plaintiff's halfway house placement was appropriate. Id., Attach. (January 4, 2007 Administrative Remedy Response).

Plaintiff brings this action against the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), against its Director, Harley G. Lappin, in his official capacity, and against Ms. Jones and Mr. Watts in both their individual and official capacities. Compl. at 1.*fn2 Although he does not expressly state in his complaint that this is a civil rights action, the Court presumes that plaintiff brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and thus there is federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Plaintiff seeks a writ of mandamus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1361, compelling Ms. Jones and Mr. Watts "to reconsider Plaintiff for halfway house placement" and requiring the BOP "to take [his] lack of resources into account in determining halfway house placement[.]" Id. at 3.*fn3 He also demands declaratory relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201, requesting a "declaratory judgment holding that Plaintiff has not refused to complete a Release Preparation Program." Id. at 3. Finally, he demands compensatory damages against Mr. Watts and Ms. Jones and punitive damages against Ms. Jones. Id.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Defendant Jenny Jones

Defendant Jones argues that no claim against her in her individual capacity may proceed for three reasons: (1) service of process was improper, (2) this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over ...


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