Haynes v. Williams
ORDER: Haynes's 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is DENIED and this case is DISMISSED with prejudice. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to close this case and enter judgment accordingly. Signed by Judge Stephen P. McGlynn on 11/14/2023. (trf)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
RYAN N. HAYNES,
Case No. 23-CV-01348-SPM
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
McGLYNN, District Judge:
Petitioner Ryan Haynes is a federal inmate presently housed at Federal
Correctional Institution Greenville in Illinois. He filed the instant Petition for Writ
of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1). The case is now before the
Court for a preliminary review of the Petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules
Governing Section 2254 cases in the United States District Courts. Rule 1(b) gives
this Court the authority to apply these Rules to other habeas corpus cases. Id.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
On March 13, 2019, Haynes was sentenced to 120 months in prison and three
years of supervised release, after having been convicted of being a felon in possession
of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). See United States v.
Haynes, No. 18-cr-00152-001 (S.D. Iowa 2019), (Doc. 106).
Haynes previously filed a § 2241 petition in this District which was dismissed
with prejudice on October 10, 2023. See Haynes v. Williams, No. 23-cv-01051-SMY
(S.D. Ill. 2023), (Doc. 15). His previous petition cited United States v. Stinson, 508
Page 1 of 6
U.S. 36 (1993) and argued that that the BOP erroneously classified his conviction for
Felon in Possession of a Firearm as a “crime of violence,” which resulted in a finding
of high recidivism that rendered him ineligible for certain time credits and
consequently, early release under the First Step Act (FSA). See id., (Doc. 1).
As an initial matter, while petitioners are required to obtain authorization
from the applicable Court of Appeals to file “second or successive” motions to correct,
vacate, or set aside their sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h), the Seventh
Circuit has stated that successive § 2241 habeas corpus petitions do not require prior
approval. See Valona v. United States, 138 F.3d 693, 694 (7th Cir. 1998) (citing Felker
v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651 (1996)). However, § 2244(a) does prohibit successive § 2241
petitions directed to the same issue concerning execution of a sentence. See id. at 695.
Thus, the question is whether the prior ruling concerns the same issue as faces this
Court. Even though both address application of FSA time credits, because Haynes
advances a different argument here, the Court will conduct preliminary review under
The instant Petition attacks the application of certain static and dynamic
factors in the Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting Elements of Risk and Need
(PATTERN) utilized by the Bureau of Prisons to gauge recidivism risk. First, Haynes
argues that this allocation of points “harmfully affects the effectiveness and
efficiency” of EBRR programs contrary to Congress’s intent in the FSA. (See id., p.
19). To that end, he requests that the Bureau of Prisons remove the 12-point cap in
the “Programs Completed” section of the Prisoner Assessment Tool Targeting
Elements of Risk and Need (PATTERN). (See id., p. 18). He argues that, instead of a
Page 2 of 6
tiered system of points, there should be a scaled system in which each individual
Evidence-Based Recidivism Risk (EBRR) program completed earns the inmate an
additional point value in line with the intent of the FSA. (See id., pp. 18–19). The
current system awards a three-point reduction after 1 program, 3 programs, 10
programs, and 12 programs, respectively with a maximum of 12 points possible. (See
He next argues that the imposition of “static” risk factors for age and criminal
history points into the PATTERN assessment is “diminishing the intent of Congress
through the First Step Act of 2019.” (Id., pp. 20–21). Because he has 40 criminal
history points applied to his PATTERN score, he argues that he cannot adequately
lower his recidivism score sufficiently to gain FSA time credits to apply to his
sentence. (See id., p. 21). He argues that the Department of Justice and Bureau of
Prisons “should not have the authority to ignore, misinterpret, or show clear
disregard for Congressional intent.” (Id., pp. 21–22).
In response, the Bureau of Prisons has stated that it “does not have the
authority to approve or deny the relief” Haynes pursues, since the PATTERN tool
was developed by the Department of Justice “with input from numerous
stakeholders.” (Id., p. 17).
The Supreme Court has established that habeas petitions are only appropriate
where “success in [the] action would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of
confinement or duration.” Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 82 (2005). Additionally,
“the Supreme Court has long held that a civil rights action brought pursuant to 42
Page 3 of 6
U.S.C. § 1983 is the proper vehicle for challenging a condition of confinement, such
as the BOP’s security rating of an inmate or the inmate’s facility designation.”
Pinkney v. U.S. Dep’t of Just., No. 07-CV-106, 2009 WL 277551 (N.D.W. Va. Feb. 5,
2009). Thus, the key determination is whether the petition is seeking an adjustment
to the length of the prisoner’s sentence or whether it merely affects the conditions of
his or her sentence.
It has been clearly established that a federal inmate may challenge the
application of potential sentence credits in the calculation of his or her sentence in a
§ 2241 petition. See Setser v. United States, 566 U.S. 231, 244 (2012). That being said,
a prisoner has “no constitutional or inherent right” in being released prior to the
completion of a valid sentence. See Greenholtz v. Inmates of Neb. Penal & Corr.
Complex, 442 U.S. 1, 7 (1979). If a relevant statute places no “substantive limitations
on official discretion” in granting an early release from a valid sentence, no
constitutionally protected liberty interest is implicated. Olim v. Wakinekona, 461
U.S. 238, 249 (1983).
The FSA delegates to the Attorney General the authority to develop “a risk and
needs assessment system” used for the purpose of “determin[ing] the recidivism risk
of each prisoner as part of the intake process, and classify[ing] each prisoner as
having minimum, low, medium, or high risk for recidivism.” 18 U.S.C. § 3632(a)(1).
This assessment system is to be used for: (1) determining an inmate’s recidivism risk;
(2) assessing an inmate’s risk of violent or serious misconduct; (3) determining the
type and amount of EBRR programming appropriate for each inmate; (4) periodically
assessing an inmate’s recidivism risk; (4) reassigning an inmate to appropriate EBRR
Page 4 of 6
programs and productive activities; (5) determining when to provide incentives and
rewards for successful participation in EBRR programs and productive activities; and
(6) determining when the inmate is ready to transfer to pre-release custody or
supervised release. See 28 U.S.C. § 3632(a).
In order to be eligible for FSA early release, an inmate must “[have] shown
through the periodic risk reassessments a demonstrated recidivism risk reduction or
[have] maintained a minimum or low recidivism risk [during the term of
imprisonment].” 18 U.S.C. § 3624(g)(1)(B); see 28 C.F.R. § 523.44(b). For placement
in prerelease custody, § 3624(g) requires that the inmate “has been determined under
the System to be a minimum or low risk to recidivate pursuant to the last 2
reassessments of the prisoner” or that the placement was specifically approved by the
cognizant Warden. 18 U.S.C. § 3624(g)(1)(D)(i). In a similar fashion, for early transfer
to supervised release, § 3624(g) requires that the inmate “has been determined under
the System to be a minimum or low risk to recidivate pursuant to the last
reassessment.” 18 U.S.C. § 3624(g)(1)(D)(ii).
Because Haynes has a “high” PATTERN score, he can accrue (but not use) FSA
time credits to reduce his sentence. (See Doc. 1, p. 17). His argument, thus, is that he
is unable to meaningfully change his PATTERN score because of the interplay
between static factors (age, criminal history) and because attending supported
programming will not reduce his score enough for it to matter. (See Doc. 1). Haynes
argues that the Bureau of Prisons is failing to execute the will of Congress in the FSA.
(See id., pp. 18–22).
However, there is a critical error with this argument. While the Supreme Court
Page 5 of 6
has stated that state statute-mandated time credits create a liberty interest, see Wolff
v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 557 (1974), “the Constitution itself does not guarantee
good-time credit for satisfactory behavior while in prison.” Id. The FSA only
establishes that prisoners can earn good-time credits; it does not establish that goodtime credits are statutorily required. The FSA good-time credit system is executed in
accordance with regulations promulgated by the Bureau of Prisons in the Federal
Register. See FSA Time Credits, 87 Fed. Reg. 2705 (Jan. 19, 2022) (to be codified at
28 CFR pts. 523, 541). As the Department of Justice has authority to establish
regulations to implement the FSA in the Bureau of Prisons, usage of PATTERN as
one of the factors considered in award of FSA time credits is reasonable. Haynes,
thus, does not have a constitutionally protected liberty interest that is cognizable in
a § 2241 petition.
For the reasons set forth above, Haynes’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is DISMISSED with PREJUDICE as it plainly
appears that he is not entitled to relief.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
November 14, 2023
s/ Stephen P. McGlynn
STEPHEN P. McGLYNN
U.S. District Judge
Page 6 of 6
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?