Case Number: 16-2178
Judge: James Scott
Court: COURT OF APPEALS OF IOWA
Plaintiff's Attorney: Thomas J. Miller
William A. Hill
Assistant Attorney General
Defendant's Attorney: Jamie Hunter
Description: Hensley pled guilty to third-degree burglary and was sentenced on March
25, 2014, to a suspended five-year prison term. Hensley was placed on probation
for two years, and the court ordered, as a part of that probation, Hensley complete
treatment at the Bridges of Iowa program. The sentencing order required Hensley
to remain in the Polk County Jail until space became available at Bridges. On
June 17, 2014, Hensley was escorted to the Bridges facility, which is housed in a
different portion of the Polk County Jail building. After spending 126 days at
Bridges, Hensley absconded from the facility on October 22, 2014. His probation
officer filed a report of violation with the court, and the court imposed the previously
suspended five-year prison term on August 24, 2015.1
On February 29, 2016, Hensley sent a letter to the court asking that he be
given credit for the 126 days he spent in the Bridges program. The court directed
the attorneys involved in the case to file a written response to the letter. On April
27, 2016, counsel for Hensley filed a motion for credit for time served, asserting
he should be permitted credit for time spent at Bridges under Iowa Code section
1 After Hensley absconded from Bridges, he was arrested and charged with seconddegree theft. He pled guilty to that charge, and the five-year sentence imposed for that conviction was ordered to run consecutively to the sentence imposed for the burglary conviction, for a total term of confinement of ten years.
903A.5(1) (2016). The State resisted the motion, and Hensley’s counsel filed an
amended motion on December 13, 2016, asserting credit for the time spent in
Bridges should also be granted under section 907.3(3). A hearing was held on
December 14, 2016, and the district court issued its decision the same day denying
the motion for the credit. Hensley appeals that denial, asserting he is entitled to a
credit under section 903A.5(1) and section 907.3(3).
II. Scope and Standard of Review.
Whether Hensley is entitled to a credit on his sentence for the time he spent
at the Bridges program is a question that turns on statutory interpretation. As such,
our review of the district court’s decision is for the correction of errors at law. State
v. Allensworth, 823 N.W.2d 411, 413 (Iowa 2012).
At the hearing on his motion, Hensley submitted as an exhibit the
application form for the Bridges program. The exhibit provides Bridges is “a long
term faith-based treatment program for substance abusing individuals involved
with the criminal justice system. Bridges of Iowa provides an intensive faith-based
community environment designed to support individuals as they transition from
prison or jail confinement.” The application describes the program as lasting,
typically, one year and having three phases. The first phase lasts approximately
two to three months, and “[t]he resident’s time away from the facility is considerably
limited during Phase I.” Phase 2 lasts approximately three to four months, and
residents obtain employment and earn weekend furloughs. According to the
application form, Phases 1 and 2 are located in the west wing of the Polk County
Jail, “[b]ut the Bridge program is completely separate from the jail itself. Residents
are not locked in. Bridges is a halfway house program. Clients come and go from
this facility to work, meetings, church, furloughs, and other activities.” Finally,
Phase 3 typically lasts six months, and the participant “gains much more freedom,
transitions off the West Wing unit and moves into one of our Phase 3 Apartments
located in a beautiful facility in West Des Moines.” However, the participants are
required to return to the residential facility two evenings per week for group
counseling sessions and spiritual programing. Failure to satisfactorily progress in
the program or the display of unacceptable behavior can result in an “unsuccessful
discharge” and the participant’s probation or parole officer or referral source is
Hensley also offered testimony at the hearing, having been through Phase
1 of the program. He testified he was escorted to Bridges from his cell in the Polk
County Jail, was not allowed the leave the building, and was not allowed to leave
the Bridges facility for one week after he arrived. After that week, he was allowed
to leave the facility to attend addiction support meetings, but he had to sign in and
out of the facility and had a 10:00 p.m. curfew. He believed that if he did not return,
a warrant would issue for his arrest. He was assigned a counselor in the program
and was required to participate in treatment. However, he knew the staff at Bridges
was not employed by the jail but were employed by Bridges, a private nonprofit
company. When he failed to return to the program, he was not charged with
escape but did suffer the revocation of his probation.
Because the program is housed in the Polk County Jail and because of the
level of supervision involved in the program, Hensley asserts he should get credit
toward his sentence for the time he spent at Bridges pursuant to either section
903A.5(1) or section 907.3(3).
A. Section 903A.5(1). Iowa Code section 903A.5(1) provides, in part:
If an inmate was confined to a county jail, municipal holding facility, or other correctional or mental facility at any time prior to sentencing, or after sentencing but prior to the case having been decided on appeal, because of failure to furnish bail or because of being charged with a nonbailable offense, the inmate shall be given credit for the days already served upon the term of the sentence.
It is Hensley’s contention that the Bridges program is a “mental facility.” The State
maintains that Bridges does not qualify as a mental facility, such as the Iowa
Residential Treatment Center, because it is not a state-operated facility. See State
v. Calvin, 839 N.W.2d 181, 187 (Iowa 2013) (noting the parties did not dispute that
the Iowa Residential Treatment Center qualified as a mental facility). Instead, the
State maintains the program is similar to the Harbor of Hope and Farrell House,
independently run, privately funded residential group homes, which this court
determined were not correctional or mental health facilities under section
903A.5(1) in State v. Moore, No. 10-1162, 2011 WL 649679, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App.
Feb. 23, 2011). Instead, the State asserts Hensley voluntarily opted to be placed
at Bridges for drug treatment, and he could not be prosecuted for escape if he left.
Finally, the State maintains that the location of the treatment center, within a wing
of the Polk County Jail, should have no impact on whether the facility is considered
to be a correctional or mental facility.
Upon our review of section 903A.5(1), we agree Hensley is not entitled to a
credit for the time he spent at Bridges but not based on the characteristics of the
program. Instead, section 903A.5(1) is inapplicable to Hensley because his
placement in Bridges occurred after sentencing. Section 903A.5(1) provides for a
credit for confinement that occurs “at any time prior to sentencing, or after
sentencing but prior to the case having been decided on appeal.” (Emphasis
added.) Hensley’s stay at Bridges occurred almost three months after his
sentencing hearing, after the court had imposed a judgment of conviction and
ordered him to serve a suspended five-year prison term. Every case cited by both
parties interpreting section 903A.5(1) is distinguishable on this fact alone. See,
e.g., Calvin, 839 N.W.2d at 182 (“In this case, we consider whether a criminal
defendant is entitled to credit against a prison sentence for time spent prior to
sentencing at the Iowa Residential Treatment Center (IRTC) and for time spent in
jail as a result of drug court program violations.” (emphasis added)); State v.
Rodenburg, 562 N.W.2d 186, 187 (Iowa 1997) (noting the defendant was seeking
credit “for time served, particularly for time she spent in custody after her arrest
and prior to being taken to jail”); Hamilton v. State, No. 13-1413, 2015 WL
3613256, at *1-2 (Iowa Ct. App. June 10, 2015) (noting the court accepted
Hamilton’s guilty plea and informed him a sentencing day would be set in the future
pending his work in drug court); Moore, 2011 WL 649679, at *1 & n.1 (stating
Moore was admitted to the Polk County Drug Court program and was seeking
credit for the time he spent at Harbor of Hope and Farrell house prior to being
Because we conclude section 903A.5(1) is inapplicable to Hensley’s stay at
Bridges, which occurred after sentencing, we agree with the district court’s
conclusion this section does not entitled him to a credit for days he spent there.
B. Section 907.3(3). Hensley also asserts section 907.3(3) entitles him to
a credit for the time he served at Bridges. This code provision provides, in part:
By record entry at the time of or after sentencing, the court may suspend the sentence and place the defendant on probation upon such terms and conditions as it may require including commitment to an alternate jail facility or a community correctional residential treatment facility to be followed by a period of probation as specified in section 907.7, or commitment of the defendant to the judicial district department of correctional services for supervision or services under section 901B.1 at the level of sanctions which the district department determines to be appropriate and the payment of fees imposed under section 905.14. A person so committed who has probation revoked shall not be given credit for such time served. However, a person committed to an alternate jail facility or a community correctional residential treatment facility who has probation revoked shall be given credit for time served in the facility.
Iowa Code § 907.3(3) (emphasis added).
The language highlighted above giving a person credit for time spent in an
alternate jail facility or a community correctional residential treatment facility was
added in 2012 in response to the supreme court’s decision in State v. Anderson,
801 N.W.2d 1, 9 (Iowa 2011), which held a defendant was entitled to credit for time
spent on probation wearing an electronic monitoring device. See 2012 Iowa Acts
ch. 1138, § 91. Our supreme court recognized in State v. Allensworth, 823 N.W.2d
411, 413 (Iowa 2012), that the amended language was added in section 907.3(3)
to eliminate the credit recognized in Anderson for time served on probation and to
maintain the credit for time served in “alternate jail or correctional facilities.” While
the amendment clarified a credit would not apply for electronically monitored
probation, the credit for time served in alternate jail facilities and community
correctional residential treatment facilities had been permitted before Anderson
and the amended language. See Trecker v. State, 320 N.W.2d 594, 596 (Iowa
1982), superseded on other grounds by statute as stated in Allensworth, 823
N.W.2d at 416.
In Trecker, the court determined that “alternate jail facility” was “specifically
defined, and its implementation procedure prescribed, by chapter 356A.” Id. The
Trecker court noted for a facility to be qualified under chapter 356A, it “require[d]
action by a county board of supervisors to designate a facility as an alternative jail
and to maintain it as such.” Id. We find no definition of a community correctional
residential treatment facility in Trecker, as no party raised that issue, but we note
the Trecker court determined “[n]either of these facilities may be construed to
mean merely the equivalent of a jail, or a place where the defendant is confined.”
The legislature has outlined the corrections continuum as consisting of five
levels. See Iowa Code § 901B.1. Levels one and two on the continuum consist
of self-monitored and supervised probation and parole. See id. § 901B.1(1)(a),
(b). Level three consists of the “[q]uasi-incarceration sanctions,” which include
those supported by residential facility placement or twenty-four hour electronic monitoring including, but not limited to, the following: (1) Residential treatment facilities. (2) Operating while intoxicated offender treatment facilities. (3) Work release facilities. (4) House arrest with electronic monitoring. (5) A substance abuse treatment facility as established and operated by the Iowa department of public health or the department of corrections.
Id. § 901B.1(1)(c). Levels four and five include short-term and long-term
incarceration in jail or prison. See id. § 901B(1)(d), (e).
It is Hensley’s assertion that the Bridges program is “an alternate jail facility
or a community correctional residential treatment facility” as provided in section
907.3(3). In Hensley’s motion for a credit, he quoted from the Bridges’s website,
which at that time2 stated the program was
a licensed level 3.1 long term substance abuse treatment program housed at the West Wing of the Polk County Jail. Bridges of Iowa has forged a partnership with Polk County Board of Supervisors and the Polk County Sherriff and has received the opportunity to house our substance abuse treatment program in an unused wing at the jail facility.
Hensley further quoted from the Bridges’s website that the participants “are
referred to the program through the jail or prison system, through the court system,
and through the 5th Judicial District Drug Court diversion program,” but the
program is staffed by private certified alcohol and drug counselors, not personnel
from any state or county agency. Hensley asserts that if Bridges is not an alternate
jail facility or a community correctional residential treatment facility, then no facility
ever could qualify as such. The State did not respond to this claim in its appellate
brief, but we note it conceded in its resistance to Hensley’s motion for a credit that
Bridges was “an independent residential treatment facility located in the Polk
Ultimately, we determine Hensley has failed to prove the Bridges program
is “an alternate jail facility” or a “community correctional residential treatment
facility.” Despite all of the information he provided about the Bridges program, our
record is lacking proof the program is run under chapter 356A as an alternate jail
facility or that it is run as a community correctional residential treatment facility.
Outcome: Because we have insufficient evidence to determine the program falls into one of the two categories listed in section 907.3(3), we cannot conclude Hensley is
entitled to a credit for the time he spent in the program. We therefore affirm the district court’s denial of the credit.