United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER ON MOTION FOR JUDICIAL RECOMMENDATION
CONCERNING RESIDENTIAL RE-ENTRY CENTER PLACEMENT
BLOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendant Stanley P.
Phillips' ("Defendant") Motion Requesting a
Judicial Recommendation Concerning Length of Residential
Re-entry Center Placement Pursuant to the Second Chance Act
of 2007. ECF No.  ("Motion"). The United
States of America ("Government") filed its Response
in opposition to Defendant's Motion, ECF No. 
("Response"), to which Defendant replied, ECF No.
 ("Reply"). The Court has reviewed the Motion,
all opposing and supporting submissions, the record in the
case, and is otherwise fully advised. For the reasons
discussed below, the Defendant's Motion is granted and
the Court recommends that the Bureau of Prisons place
Defendant in an appropriate Residential Re-entry Center
("RRC") upon eligibility.
was tried and found guilty of eight counts of wire fraud in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. The Defendant was
sentenced by this Court on February 20, 2015, to a term of
108 months imprisonment, followed by a term of three years of
supervised release. See ECF No. . Defendant is
currently serving his sentence at a minimum-security prison
in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and is scheduled for release on
October 5, 2022. Based on his behavior while in custody and
his extensive rehabilitative efforts to prepare for his
transition back into civilian life, Defendant now submits the
instant Motion urging the Court to recommend that the Bureau
of Prisons ("BOP") afford him maximum RRC or
Halfway House (collectively, "RRC") placement for
the twelve months prior to the end of his sentence. ECF No.
 at 1-6.
is uniquely charged with designating "the place of a
prisoner's imprisonment." 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b).
Under the Second Chance Act, codified in 18 U.S.C. §
The Director of the [BOP] shall, to the extent practicable,
ensure that a prisoner serving a term of imprisonment spends
a portion of the final months of that term (not to exceed 12
months), under conditions that will afford that prisoner a
reasonable opportunity to adjust to and prepare for the
reentry of that prisoner into the community. Such conditions
may include a community correctional facility.
Id.; 28 C.F.R. §570.20(a) ("Community
confinement is defined as residence in a community treatment
center, halfway house, restitution center, mental health
facility, alcohol or drug rehabilitation center, or other
community correctional facility (including residential
re-entry centers); and participation in gainful employment,
employment search efforts, community service, vocational
training, treatment, educational programs, or similar
facility-approved programs during non-residential
hours."). As such, § 3624(c) directs that the BOP
place a prisoner preparing to reenter civilian life in a RRC,
based on an individualized determination, in order "to
provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration
into the community." Id. § 3624(c)(6);
see also United States v. Kuba, No. 06-20114-CR,
2018 WL 7357403, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 13, 2018).
Pursuant to the Act, BOP staff is directed to review inmates
for RRC placement 17 to 19 months before their projected
release date and to consider inmates on an individual basis
using the following five factors set forth in 18 U.S.C.
§ 3621(b): (1) the resources of the facility
contemplated; (2) the nature and circumstances of the
offense; (3) the history and characteristics of the prisoner;
(4) any statement by the court that imposed the sentence
(concerning the purposes for which the sentence to
imprisonment was determined to be warranted, or recommending
a type of penal or correctional facility as appropriate); and
(5) any pertinent policy statement issued by the Sentencing
United States v. Hill, No. 06-0286-CG-C, 2019 WL
3337904, at *1 (S.D. Ala. July 25, 2019) (citing 18U.S.C.
is within the discretion of the BOP whether to place a
prisoner in an RRC, and if so, for how long."
Bromfield v. Dobbs, No. 18-CV-22618, 2019 WL 404048,
at *5 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 16, 2019), report and
recommendation adopted, No. 18-22618-CIV, 2019 WL 399899
(S.D. Fla. Jan. 31, 2019) (citing Woodall v. Fed. Bureau
of Prisons, 432 F.3d 235, 251 (4th Cir. 2005)); see
also Id. (noting that § 3624(c) "does not
guarantee a one-year RRC placement" (citing Demis v.
Sniezek, 558 F.3d 508, 514 (6th Cir. 2009); Bun v.
Wiley, 351 Fed.Appx. 267, 268 (10th Cir. 2009))).While
the Court may make a recommendation as to the appropriate
correctional facility, "a district court's
recommendation to the [BOP] is just that - a
recommendation." United States v. Cebellos, 671
F.3d 852, 855 (9th Cir. 2011). A request by a sentencing
court "shall have no binding effect on the authority of
the Bureau ... to determine or change the place of
imprisonment of that person." 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b).
Government opposes the Motion, arguing that Defendant's
request is procedurally defective because he has not
exhausted his administrative remedies prior to filing this
Motion, and that the Defendant's request for RRC
placement is premature. ECF No. . The Court disagrees
with the Government on both arguments.
to § 3621 (b)(4)(B), the BOP is required to consider the
Court's non-binding recommendation in determining an
inmate's placement at any available penal or correctional
facility. See 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b)(4)(B)
("The Bureau may designate any available penal or
correctional facility . .. that the Bureau determines to be
appropriate and suitable, considering . .. any statement by
the court that imposed the sentence . . . recommending a type
of penal or correctional facility as appropriate.").
Further, because this Court sentenced Defendant, it may issue
a recommendation as to the appropriate correctional facility
for Defendant upon request. Id.; see also Hill, 2019
WL 3337904, at *1. The explicit language of this provision
indicates that any judicial recommendation must be provided
before the BOP makes its placement decision, as this
recommendation should be considered as part of the
individualized determination of an inmate's ultimate
placement. Id. Rather than a motion for relief after
an erroneous administrative decision, asasserted by the
Government, Defendant's Motion here is simply a request
for the Court to submit a recommendation on his behalf that
the BOP will consider in assessing his placement in an RRC.
Courts have, on occasion, made such recommendations after
sentencing. See United States v. Mighty, No.
18-CR-60145, 2019 WL 2373344, at *1 (S.D. Fla. June 5, 2019);
United States v. Nelson, No. ...