United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Southern Division
TERRENCE W. BOYLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on defendant' spro se
motion for an exemption from halfway house subsistence fees.
[DE 46]. The government has responded and, for the following
reasons, defendant's motion is denied.
March 21, 2013, defendant was indicted for possession of
ammunition by a felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g), as well as a drug trafficking offense. [DE 1]. On
October 15, 2013, defendant entered into a plea agreement
wherein defendant agreed to plead guilty to the possession of
ammunition by a felon offense while the drug trafficking
offense would be dismissed. [DE 31]. Defendant was sentenced
to 54 months' imprisonment followed by three years'
supervised release and a $100 special assessment due
immediately. [DE 42]. The Court also recommended mental
health and substance abuse treatment, the standard conditions
of supervision, and special conditions of supervision that
defendant not open any new lines of credit and provide the
probation office any requested financial information.
December 13, 2016, defendant wrote a letter to this Court
which this Court styled a pro se motion. In that
motion, defendant asked this Court to waive the halfway house
subsistence fees. [DE 46]. In thatpro se motion,
defendant states the halfway house subsistence fee should be
waived for him because he was previously homeless, he had no
family support, and payment of the subsistence fee will make
him homeless again. Id.
half-way house, also known as a residential re-entry center
("RRC"), is authorized by regulations promulgated
under the authority of the Second Chance Act of 2007, which
provides that the "Director of the Bureau of Prisons
shall, to the extent practicable, ensure that a prisoner
serving a term of imprisonment spends a portion of the final
months of that term ... under conditions that will afford
that prisoner a reasonable opportunity to adjust to and
prepare for the reentry of that prisoner into the
community." 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c). The Act instructs
the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director to issue regulations to
ensure that such centers are habitable and governed in a
manner to achieve congressional goals. Id.
BOP Program Statement 7300.09, Community Corrections Manual,
all prisoners who transfer to an RRC as part of their
pre-release transition programming are required to
participate in the Subsistence Program. United States v.
Goward, 2009 WL 4945444 * 1 (E.D.Mich. 2009). To promote
financial responsibility and offset the cost of
incarceration, the Bureau requires inmates to make
subsistence payments to contractors operating the RRC.
Id. The contractor agreement is contained in a
statement of work (SOW). Id. The SOW currently in
effect directs contractors to collect 25% of an employed
inmate's weekly gross income not to exceed the daily
inmate-day rate. Program Statement 7300.09, § 5.13.1.
However, the SOW also allows a contractor to request waiver
of the subsistence payment obligation "[i]n cases of
hardship." United States v. Goward at *1. And
if a court orders waiver of the subsistence payments,
"the CCM [Community Corrections Manager] shall comply
with the court's order." Id; Program
Statement 7300.09 § 5.13.1. The CCM is instructed to
evaluate hardship "on a case- by-case basis ...
consider[ing] debts, assets, employment status and spending
history." United States v. Goward at * 1.
subsistence payment requirement serves the twin purposes of
promoting inmate responsibility and defraying the cost of
community reentry programs. United States v. Goward
at * 1. Where extreme financial hardship defeats those
purposes, a waiver is a sensible action. Id.
However, when an inmate is able to pay, the requirement of
subsistence should be sustained to further the BOP's
pursuit of its corrections mission. Id. Unless an
inmate makes a convincing showing that a hardship exists, he
should be required to pay for his own upkeep in the interest
of cultivating a sense of personal responsibility, thereby
contributing to the "'adjustment] and preparation]
for the reentry of that prisoner into the
community.'" Id., quoting 18 U.S.C. §
case, defendant has failed to make a convincing showing that
a financial hardship exists for him. Defendant has not
provided any information to the Court as to how much he will
be paid and why that will insufficient to support his
transition in a way that is different from any other
individual residing in a halfway house following
incarceration. Although defendant states that he was
previously homeless and that paying the subsistence fees will
lead to him being homeless again, defendant has not providing
any information to support these statements or that would
allow the Court to assess the particular hardship defendant
may face. Rather, the Court can find no reason that defendant
should not, like other offenders, participate in the
subsistence program in order to promote his inmate
responsibility and defray the cost of the community reentry
foregoing reasons, defendant's motion ...