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Press Release

Eighth Circuit Affirms District Court’s Denial of Federal Inmate’s Habeas Petition and Dismissal of Inmate’s Civil Rights Action

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals filed a per curiam opinion and Judgment on December 29, 2015, in the case of Travis Emory Correll v. United States of America, et al., affirming the judgment of the district court.

Federal inmate Correll appealed after the district court dismissed his two pro se civil actions, in which he claimed 18 U.S.C. § 3621 and the regulations promulgated thereunder, violate equal protection because they authorize early release only for nonviolent offenders who have both a history of substance abuse and complete a residential drug-abuse treatment program.

In the opinion, the court wrote, “The government’s refusal to offer early release to Correll does not implicate a fundamental right, so § 3621 is permissible if it is supported by a rational basis.  Congress rationally could have concluded that substance-abuse treatment for prisoners could help reduce the extraordinarily high rate of recidivism among offenders who have a history of substance abuse, and that an early-release incentive was necessary to draw into treatment inmates who might otherwise be unwilling to undergo drug treatment.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Ramsdell handled this appeal for the Government

[1] Per curiam is Latin for “by the court.”  A phrase used to distinguish an opinion of the whole court from an opinion written by any one judge.  Sometimes it denotes an opinion written by the chief justice or presiding judge, or to a brief announcement of the disposition of a case by court not accompanied by a written opinion.


Updated December 30, 2015