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Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Kenneth Smith #258199 vs. SCDOC

South Carolina Department of Corrections

Kenneth Smith #258199

South Carolina Department of Corrections




This matter comes before the Administrative Law Judge Division ("Division") pursuant to the appeal of Kenneth Smith, an inmate incarcerated with the Department of Corrections (Department"). In his appeal, Smith alleges that the Department failed to properly calculate his sentence. Apparently, Smith believes that the Department is improperly withholding earned work credits from him. In addition, Smith alleges that the Department has refused to credit him with sentence credits the Department agrees he has earned. (1)

On September 5, 2001, the Division issued an En Banc Order in McNeil v. South Carolina Department of Corrections, 00-ALJ-04-00336-AP (September 5, 2001). The decision holds that the Division's appellate jurisdiction in inmate appeals is limited to two types of cases: (1) cases in which an inmate contends that prison officials have erroneously calculated his sentence, sentence-related credits, or custody status; and (2) cases in which the Department has taken an inmate's created liberty interest as punishment in a major disciplinary hearing.

In this case, Smith challenges the calculation of his sentence. As such, I find that this tribunal has jurisdiction to hear Smith's appeal.

However, upon review of the record on appeal, I find that the Department's final decision in this matter fails to set forth findings which are sufficiently detailed to enable this tribunal to conduct a meaningful appellate review. (2) Pursuant to the South Carolina Supreme Court's decision in Porter v. S.C. Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 333 S.C. 12, 507 S.E.2d 328 (1998), the findings of an administrative body must be "sufficiently detailed to enable [the reviewing body] to determine whether the findings are supported by the evidence and whether the law has been applied properly to those findings." Id., 507 S.E.2d at 332. Moreover, based on the Record on Appeal, this tribunal is unable to determine whether the Department properly calculated Smith's sentence. Consequently,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this matter is remanded to the Department of Corrections for the issuance of a final order containing detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law in conformance with the principles set forth herein.





August 23, 2002

Columbia, South Carolina

1. It appears that Smith has calculated his release date by subtracting the earned work credits and good time credits from his max-out date. Consequently, the method by which the Department derives a max-out date is central to the determination of this dispute. However, the Department failed to include any evidence in the Record that would explain how a max-out date is calculated and what it means.

2. This is not to suggest that the Department must give Smith and others challenging their sentence calculations a hearing. In a miscalculated sentence case, the grievance procedure established by the Department, in which an inmate has the opportunity to raise the matter to prison officials and in which a reviewable record is created, satisfies the requirements of due process. Al-Shabazz, 338 S.C. at 375, 527 S.E.2d at 753.

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