Bureau fails to provide due process; DeHart will legally contest decision
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has rejected Matt DeHart’s administrative appeal to restore his time-served credit that was revoked late last year. When Matt arrived at FCI Ashland in April 2016, his release date was listed as September 2018, meaning that the 14 months he spent detained in a Canadian prison would be credited toward his sentence as time served. Late in 2017, the BOP unilaterally changed Matt’s release date, revoking that credited time and effectively extending his sentence by 14 months.
Matt has worked for months to appeal that decision, challenging the revocation as well as the BOP’s authority to rescind credited time with no due process whatsoever. Matt was never given a hearing to be officially notified of the extended sentence, let alone an opportunity to defend himself and contest the decision before it was made. Matt’s mother Leann DeHart has recounted the ways in which the BOP has made it incredibly difficult to even lodge a complaint, such as giving Matt documents after the deadline he was given to fill them out. This is the exact type of bureaucratic difficulty that Barrett Brown has documented in his own efforts to appeal BOP decisions. Similarly, fellow Courage beneficiary Jeremy Hammond has recently learned that his prison is implementing new harsh mail restrictions, but he can’t get an answer as to whether it’s an official new policy, let alone any documentation to that effect.
The BOP has finally responded to Matt’s appeal; their response can be found below. The BOP recounts Matt’s ordeal, but their timeline ends in February 2016, meaning it omits Matt’s arrival at FCI Ashland and his then-release date of September 2018. Rather than addressing that release date directly, the BOP simply says, “Credit for prior custody; official detention does not include time spent in custody pursuant to a final determination of deportability. An inmate being held pending a civil deportation determination is not being held in “official” detention pending charges,” citing 18 U.S.C. 3585(b). The BOP says it has the “responsibility to update [Matt’s] federal sentence computation to ensure it has been computed as directed be federal statute.”
But Matt is given no option to contest the BOP’s contention that his detention – in criminal facilities – was “civil.” And nowhere does the BOP explain why Matt was given no due process in this decision, or why it “updated” his sentencing computation when they did, more than a year after his arrival at FCI Ashland.
The BOP is incredibly cavalier about this extremely serious matter. By thwarting Matt’s efforts to merely appeal this new release date, the BOP has added to the mental distress caused by the extended sentence in the first place. Matt is simply expected to live with the fact that he’s to spend more than an extra full year in prison – and who’s to say it won’t be extended again?
Now that Matt has exhausted all administrative avenues for redress, he will challenge the arbitrary decision in court.