United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE
Walter Allen Johnson is confined at the Federal Correctional
Institution in Manchester, Kentucky. Proceeding without an
attorney, Johnson has filed a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in which he
challenges the calculation of his sentence. [R. 1]. This
matter is before the Court on initial screening pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2243. See Alexander v. Northern Bureau
of Prisons, 419 Fed.Appx. 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011).
recently violated the terms of his supervised release, and
the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Tennessee sentenced him to eight months in prison. See
United States v. Walter Johnson, No. 3:18-cr-005 (E.D.
Tenn. 2019). Johnson is currently projected to be released
from the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on
July 8, 2019. See BOP Inmate Locator,
https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/ (last visited on May 29,
has now filed a § 2241 petition. While Johnson's
petition is vague, and his brief arguments are difficult to
follow, he suggests that he is not receiving the good time
credits to which he is entitled in light of the First Step
Act of 2018. That legislation was enacted on December 21,
2018, and it amended 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1) to change
the manner in which credits are calculated by increasing the
maximum allowable good conduct time from 47 to 54 days per
year. Johnson suggests that since he is serving an
eight-month prison sentence, which is two-thirds of one year,
he is immediately entitled to two-thirds of 54 days of good
conduct time, for a total of 36 days of good time credit.
Thus, Johnson asks the Court “to order the BOP to
recalculate [his] good time credit on a pro rated basis
beginning on the date sentence was imposed nunc pro tunc to
date of my arrest for a total of 36 days [good time
credit].” [R. 1 at 8].
Court will deny Johnson's petition for three reasons.
First, Johnson indicates that he has not taken steps to
formally exhaust his administrative remedies within the BOP.
[R. 1 at 6-7]. Johnson suggests that administrative
exhaustion is not applicable to him, and he explains that he
did not exhaust the available administrative remedy process
because “time limitations are severely restricted given
out date and recalculation of out date based on good conduct
time.” [Id. at 7]. The United States Court of
Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, however, has repeatedly made
it clear that a prisoner must fully exhaust his remedies
within the BOP before he may seek habeas relief under §
2241. See, e.g., Luedtke v. Berkebile, 704 F.3d 465,
466 (6th Cir. 2013); Fazzini v. Northeast Ohio
Correctional Center, 473 F.3d 229, 231-33 (6th Cir.
2006). This exhaustion requirement ensures that the agency
has an opportunity to review and revise its actions before
litigation is commenced. This preserves judicial resources as
well as administrative autonomy and also ensures that a court
reviewing the agency's final action does so based upon a
developed and complete evidentiary record. See
Noriega-Lopez v. Ashcroft, 335 F.3d 874, 881 (9th Cir.
2003); Moscato v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 98 F.3d
757, 761-62 (3d Cir. 1996). Ultimately, Johnson must provide
prison officials notice of the issue so that they have the
opportunity to resolve the matter and potentially avoid
even if Johnson had exhausted his administrative remedies,
the Court would deny the relief sought. To be sure, Section
102(b)(1) of the First Step Act of 2018, Public Law 115-391,
amended 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b) to permit federal inmates to
earn 54 days of good conduct time for each year of the
sentence imposed, effectively abrogating Barber v.
Thomas, 560 U.S. 474 (2010). However, this provision has
not yet taken effect. Section 102(b)(2) of the Act provides
that the amendments made in subsection 102(b) take effect
only when the Attorney General completes the “risk and
needs assessment system” required by Section 101(a).
And Section 101(a) does not require completion of the system
until 210 days after the Act's enactment. Thus, Section
102(b)(1) will not take effect until approximately July 2019.
Johnson may be frustrated with this process, this Court
applies the law as it is written. As another federal court
recently put it, “Congress chose to delay the
implementation of the First Step Act's amendments until
the Attorney General could complete the risk and needs
assessment. The Court has no power to rewrite or disregard
the statute in order to accommodate Petitioner's
situation.” Shah v. Hartman, No. 1:18-cv-7990
at Record No. 12 at 4 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 3, 2019).
even if Johnson had exhausted his administrative remedies and
his claim was otherwise ripe, it appears to fail on the
merits as well. After all, 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1)
indicates that a prisoner may receive good time credit if he
“is serving a term of imprisonment of more than 1 year,
” and, here, the trial court only sentenced Johnson to
eight months in prison. Thus, Johnson's petition is
reasons outlined above, Johnson has failed to establish a
right to habeas relief. Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED as follows:
Johnson's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [D. E. No. 1] is
pending motions are DENIED as moot.
action is DISMISSED and