United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER.
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Gerald Flood is an inmate at the Federal Medical Center (FMC)
in Lexington, Kentucky. Proceeding without an attorney, Flood
filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1331 and the doctrine announced in Bivens v. Six Unknown
Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) alleging
that the defendants violated his constitutional rights. [R.
1]. This matter is now before the Court for screening
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e)(2). For
the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss
alleges that he was enrolled in the Bureau of Prison's
(BOP's) Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) in the
hopes of trying to obtain a reduction in his sentence of up
to a one year pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2)(B). [R.
1 at 2]. Having completed most of the program, Flood was
scheduled to be transferred to a Residential Re-Entry Center
(RRC), also known as a halfway house, a necessary and last
step to complete the RDAP. [R. 1 at 2-4]. Flood claims that
just as he was about to be transferred to the halfway house,
prison officials told him that he could not go because a
prison doctor concluded that Flood was not properly treating
his medical condition. [R. 1 at 2]. Specifically, the
physician determined that Flood had not been self-
administering the subcutaneous injections required to treat
his medical condition. As a result, the doctor decided that
it would be medically advantageous for Flood to remain at the
FMC so that his care could be provided by medical staff at
the facility. [R. 1 at 3; R. 1-1 at 2]. As a result, prison
officials kept Flood at FMC-Lexington instead of transferring
him to a halfway house, preventing him from completing the
RDAP. [R. 1 at 2-3; R. 1-1 at 1].
disagreed with this decision and requested an administrative
remedy from the Warden. [R. 1-1 at 3]. Flood emphasized that
he had been approved for a transfer to the halfway house and
argued that the doctor improperly overrode that decision. [R.
1-1 at 3]. Flood then claimed that he was the victim of
“medical disability discrimination” and asked the
Warden to send him to the halfway house as soon as possible
so that he could complete the RDAP. [R. 1-1 at 3]. The
Warden, however, denied Flood's request, stating that
“[a]s part of the continued monitoring by medical
staff, the Acting Clinic Director/Central Sector Clinical
Specialty Consultant deemed that you are not medically
cleared for placement in an RRC because you are not
self-administering the sub-cutaneous injections required with
your condition.” [R. 1-1 at 2]. The Warden then said,
“The continued care of your medical condition is best
accomplished at a Medical Referral Center” like
FMC-Lexington. [R. 1-1 at 2]. Thus, the Warden denied
Flood's request for an administrative remedy. [R. 1-1 at
appealed the Warden's decision to the BOP's
Mid-Atlantic Regional Office. [R. 1-1 at 1]. Flood again
stressed that he had been approved for a transfer to the
halfway house and argued that the doctor erroneously reversed
that decision. [R. 1-1 at 1]. Flood then claimed for the
first time that “this decision . . . evokes a case of
racial discrimination” because there “are other
races with conditions similar and worse than mine who were
approved to transition to halfway house who are of a
different race and the Acting Clinical Director/Central
Sector Specialty Consultant allowed them to transition. I can
provide names if necessary to do so.” [R. 1-1 at 1].
The Regional Director, however, denied Flood's appeal,
stating that he was “not medically cleared to go to a
RRC, and not medically cleared for home confinement as there
is no approved release plan, and you have not been
self-administering your injections.” [R. 8-1 at 1].
appealed to the BOP's Central Office. [R. 9-1 at 1].
Flood highlighted once more that he had been approved for a
transfer to the halfway house before being told that he was
not going. [R. 9-1 at 1]. Flood generically argued that this
was “a form of discrimination” because
“other inmates who are in far worse medical condition
than I am have been allowed to go to home confinement.”
[R. 9-1 at 1]. The Central Office, however, denied
Flood's appeal, stating that the Warden and Regional
Director adequately addressed Flood's complaints, there
was no indication staff acted contrary to policy, and there
was no support for Flood's claim of discrimination. [R.
9-1 at 2].
then filed his civil rights complaint with this Court. [R.
1]. In Flood's complaint, he states that he was
self-administering his own injections and that prison
officials were fully aware of his medical condition before
they approved him for a transfer to the halfway house so that
he could complete the RDAP. [R. 1 at 3]. Flood then says
that, at the last minute, the doctor overrode that decision
even though he was relying on medical information that was
already known to prison officials. [R. 1 at 3]. Flood then
makes two constitutional claims. First, Flood argues that he
has “a right to be treated the same as similarly
situated people” and that the doctor “revoked my
privileges to go to transitional services and allowed
individuals with medical conditions similar and worse than
mine to go to [a] halfway house in violation of equal
protection [as] there was no justifiable reason why I was not
able to go to home confinement and/or the halfway
house.” [R. 1 at 4]. Second, Flood argues that his
“right to due process was violated because I was
deprived of the liberty of knowing that my medical condition
was a reason for me to not qualify for the one year reduction
because when I was interviewed I was not told the
truth.” [R. 1 at 4]. Thus, it appears that Flood is
arguing that prison officials violated his Fifth Amendment
due process and equal protection rights by removing him from
the RDAP and preventing him from being eligible for a
sentence reduction. [R. 1 at 4]. Ultimately, Flood is seeking
$1 million in damages, and he asks the Court to enter an
order reprimanding the defendants. [R. 1 at 8].
removal from the RDAP did not deprive him of his due process
rights. To be sure, the BOP must make available appropriate
substance abuse treatment for each prisoner it determines has
a treatable condition, see 18 U.S.C. §§
3621(b), and, if that prisoner completes the treatment, he
may be eligible for a reduction in his sentence of up to one
year. See 18 U.S.C. § 3621(e)(2)(B). But that
statute ultimately “leaves the decision of whether to
grant early release to the discretion of the BOP.”
Heard v. Quintana, 184 F.Supp.3d 515, 519 (E.D. Ky.
2016) (citing Lopez v. Davis, 531 U.S. 230, 241
(2001)). Thus, even if “a prisoner successfully
completes the RDAP, the BOP retains the discretion to deny
early release.” Heard, 184 F.Supp.3d at 519;
see also Orr v. Hawk, 156 F.3d 651, 653 (6th Cir.
1998) (explaining that the BOP has “substantial
discretion” under the statute). Given this “broad
discretion left to the BOP, prisoners have no protected
liberty or property interest in participating in a RDAP, and
are not denied due process if they are removed from the
program.” Heard, 184 F.Supp.3d. at 519;
see also Sesi v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons, 238 F.3d
423, 2000 WL 1827950, *2 (6th Cir. 2000) (“[T]here is
no liberty interest in a reduced sentence, and §
3621(e)(2)(B) does not afford such an interest.”).
Cleary then, in this case, prison officials did not violate
Flood's due process rights by determining that he was not
adequately treating his medical condition and deciding that
he could not safely go to a halfway house to complete the
equal protection claim is also unavailing. While Flood
suggests in his complaint that he is being treated
differently from others who are similarly situated, he offers
no clear factual allegations to support this legal
conclusion. At most, he generically states in his complaint
that prison officials “allowed individuals with medical
conditions similar and worse than mine to go to [a] halfway
house.” [R. 1 at 4]. But Flood does not identify any of
these individuals or describe their medical conditions with
any specificity. And while Flood briefly alleged racial
discrimination in his appeal to the BOP's Mid-Atlantic
Regional Office, he asserts no such claim in his complaint.
In short, even though this Court liberally construes
Flood's pro se complaint, he has simply not alleged
sufficient facts to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. See Nali v. Ekman, 355 F. App'x 909,
913 (6th Cir. 2009) (“[A]s the Supreme Court recently
held, a complaint that includes conclusory allegations of
discriminatory intent without additional supporting details
does not sufficiently show that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 680 (2009))).
IT IS ORDERED that:
Flood's Due Process and Equal Protection claims are
DISMISSED with prejudice.
action is DISMISSED and STRICKEN from ...