United States v. Johnson, 529 U.S. 53, 4 (2000)

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56

UNITED STATES v. JOHNSON

Opinion of the Court

term of supervised release commenced not on the day he left prison confines but earlier, when his lawful term of imprisonment expired. Id., at 571. Awarding respondent credit for the extra time served, the court further concluded, would provide meaningful relief because supervised release, while serving rehabilitative purposes, is also "punitive in nature." Ibid. Judge Gilman dissented, agreeing with the position of the District Court. Id., at 572-573.

The Courts of Appeals have reached differing conclusions on the question presented. Compare United States v. Blake, 88 F. 3d 824, 825 (CA9 1996) (supervised release commences on the date defendants "should have been released, rather than on the dates of their actual release"), with United States v. Jeanes, 150 F. 3d 483, 485 (CA5 1998) (supervised release cannot run during any period of imprisonment); United States v. Joseph, 109 F. 3d 34 (CA1 1997) (same); United States v. Douglas, 88 F. 3d 533, 534 (CA8 1996) (same). We granted certiorari to resolve the question, 527 U. S. 1062 (1999), and we now reverse.

Section 3583(a) of Title 18 authorizes, and in some instances mandates, sentencing courts to order supervised release terms following imprisonment. On the issue presented for review—whether a term of supervised release begins on the date of actual release from incarceration or on an earlier date due to a mistaken interpretation of federal law—the language of 3624(e) controls. The statute provides in relevant part:

"A prisoner whose sentence includes a term of supervised release after imprisonment shall be released by the Bureau of Prisons to the supervision of a probation officer who shall, during the term imposed, supervise the person released to the degree warranted by the conditions specified by the sentencing court. The term of supervised release commences on the day the person is released from imprisonment and runs concurrently with any Federal, State, or local term of probation or super-

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