Wednesday, March 23, 2005
3rd Cir rejects challenge to BOP good time calculation
The 3rd Cir., in O'Donald v. Johns, (No. 04-2990, 3/22/05), rejected a habeas challenge to the way the Bureau of Prisons calculates the 54 days of good conduct time ("GCT"). The BOP has been interpreting the statute, 18 U.S.C. 3624(b), as allowing for 54 days of GCT "for each year served," which takes into account the fact that an inmate's time actually served becomes shorter each year as he is awarded GCT. The prisoner argued that the statutory language requires the BOP to calculate GCT based on the sentence imposed, not the time actually served. The Circuit found that the statutory language is unclear and ambiguous, and that the Court should therefore defer to the BOP's interpretation since it is an reasonable one. In so ruling, the Court joins the 1st, 7th, and 9th Cir.s in upholding the BOP on this issue.