WESTEFER v. SNYDER
725 F.Supp.2d 735 (2010)
United States District Court, S.D. Illinois.
July 20, 2010.
The Court turns to the third of the Wilkinson factors to be considered in determining whether there is a liberty interest in avoiding confinement at Tamms, the effect of placement at the supermax prison on the length of an inmate's sentence. In Wilkinson the Court identified as a factor relevant to the existence of a liberty interest in avoiding confinement at the OSP the fact that placement at the OSP automatically disqualifies an inmate of the supermax prison from consideration for parole. See 545 U.S. at 224, 125 S.Ct. 2384. The parties to this action agree that inmates at Tamms are eligible for release on parole or mandatory supervised release at the same time they would be if incarcerated at another Illinois prison. Nevertheless, as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals cautioned at an earlier stage of this case, to interpret Wilkinson as "turn[ing] exclusively on the absence of parole constitutes, [in] our view, far too crabbed a reading of the decision." Westefer, 422 F.3d at 590. "The very text of the [Wilkinson ] decision belies such a claim in noting that, `[w]hile any of these conditions standing alone might not be sufficient to create a liberty interest, taken together they impose an atypical and significant hardship within the correctional context.'" Id. (quoting Wilkinson, 545 U.S. at 224, 125 S.Ct. 2384).
Further, it is clear from the record that placement at Tamms does affect the length of an inmate's sentence, by rendering the inmate ineligible to receive various kinds of good time credit. Under Illinois law, a prison inmate, depending on the nature of his or her underlying sentence, is eligible for day-for-day good time credit pursuant to 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3, which provides, in relevant part, that "a prisoner who is serving a term of imprisonment shall receive one day of good conduct credit for each day of his or her sentence of imprisonment. . . . Each day of good conduct credit shall reduce by one day the prisoner's period of imprisonment[.]" 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(2.1). See also Thomas v. Sims, No. 05 C 3307, 2006 WL 495941, at *2 (N.D.Ill. Feb. 28, 2006). Thus, a Tamms inmate, according to the nature of his sentence, receives day-for-day good time credit in the same manner as inmates at any IDOC prison do. See, e.g., Williams v. Johnson, No. 07-cv-35-DRH, 2009 WL 5183793, at *1 & n. 2 (S.D.Ill. Dec. 22, 2009). However, placement at Tamms deprives an inmate of the right to earn certain other kinds of good time credit.
Pursuant to Section 3-6-3 of the Illinois Unified Code of Corrections, most IDOC inmates are eligible to receive good time credit for participating in work, education, and substance abuse programs:
The rules and regulations shall also provide that the good conduct credit accumulated and retained under paragraph (2.1) of subsection (a) of this Section by any inmate during specific periods of time in which such inmate is engaged full-time in substance abuse programs, correctional industry assignments, or educational programs provided by the Department under this paragraph (4) and satisfactorily completes the assigned program as determined by the standards of the Department shall be multiplied by a factor of 1.25 for program participation before August 11, 1993 and 1.50 for program participation on or after that date.
730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(4). See also Bryant v. Peters, No. 94 C 2758, 1995 WL 708566, at *1 (N.D.Ill. Nov. 30, 1995). Also, inmates at most Illinois prisons are eligible to receive meritorious good time credit under Section 3-6-3, which states, in relevant part, "The rules and regulations shall also provide that the Director [of the IDOC] may award up to 180 days additional good conduct credit for meritorious service in specific instances as the Director deems proper[.]" 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3(a)(3). See also Rooding v. Peters, 864 F.Supp. 732, 738 (N.D.Ill.1994). Because there are no educational programs or substance abuse programs at Tamms, and Tamms inmates are not permitted to hold job assignments, inmates of the supermax prison perforce cannot earn good time credit for participating in work, education, and substance abuse programs. See Doc. 175 (Response to Request for Admissions) at 13-14 ¶¶ 61-64, ¶ 66. Additionally, Tamms inmates are ineligible to receive meritorious good time credits. See Health Care Unit Request Acknowledgment by LCSW Rocky Peppers to IDOC Inmate Sean Jordan (Plaintiffs' Exhibit 15). Because of the strict constraints that placement at Tamms imposes on the ability of the inmates of the supermax prison to accrue good time credit, the Court concludes that the effect of placement at Tamms is to extend the sentence of an inmate who is confined there.4 Accordingly, the third of the Wilkinson factors relevant to the existence of a liberty interest in avoiding confinement at a supermax prison, the effect of confinement in such a prison on the length of an inmate's sentence, is satisfied here.3. Baseline Comparatives of Tammsa. Conditions at the OSP