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Dismas Charities, Inc. v. United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
401 F.3d 666 (2005)
Dismas Charities (Dismas) (plaintiff) was a nonprofit that ran community correction centers (CCCs), which acted as alternative prisons with a focus on helping inmates reintegrate into society. Dismas serviced both front-end placements, prisoners who had short sentences, and back-end placements, prisoners who were nearing the end of longer sentences. The Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons (BOP) was responsible for deciding where prisoners would be incarcerated. The BOP Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) reinterpreted the statutes that gave the BOP authority to place prisoners. Based on the reinterpretation, the OLC said the applicable law allowed a prisoner to be in a CCC only for the lesser of 6 months or 10 percent of their sentence. This change cost Dismas over $1 million in revenue. Dismas sued in federal district court, claiming that the rule was invalid because there had been no notice-and-comment period as required by the Administrative Procedure Act. The BOP claimed that it had merely released an interpretive rule rather than promulgating a substantive rule, meaning that the notice-and-comment period was not required. The district court dismissed Dismas’s case. Dismas appealed to the Sixth Circuit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rogers, J.)
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