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Johnson v. Thomas

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Western Division

December 11, 2014


Samuel Johnson, Plaintiff, Pro se, Brent, AL.



Plaintiff, Samuel Johnson, has filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that rights, privileges, or immunities afforded him under the Constitution or laws of the United States were abridged during his incarceration at Bibb County Correctional Facility in Brent, Alabama. (Doc. 8). The plaintiff names Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Prison Commissioner Kim Thomas and Warden Willie Thomas as defendants and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as court costs. (Id. at 6). In accordance with the usual practices of this court and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the complaint was referred to the undersigned magistrate judge for a preliminary report and recommendation. See McCarthy v. Bronson, 500 U.S. 136, 111 S.Ct. 1737, 114 L.Ed.2d 194 (1991).

I. Standard of Review

The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-134, § 804, 110 Stat. 1321, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, requires a court to screen complaints filed by prisoners against officers or employees of governmental entities and to dismiss the complaint or any portion of the complaint it determines is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. Where practicable, a court may sua sponte dismiss a prisoner's complaint prior to service. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

A dismissal pursuant to § 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim is governed by the same standards as dismissals for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215, 127 S.Ct. 910, 166 L.Ed.2d 798 (2007). To survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, " a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (internal quotation omitted). A plaintiff must assert " more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not" suffice. Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Nonetheless, because " [p]ro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys[, ]" they are liberally construed. Boxer X v. Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006).

II. Factual Allegations

Bibb County Correctional Facility (BCCF) " has six housing units listed A-F." (Doc. 8 at 4). Each unit has " three dorms" housing " about 106 inmates, " and each dorm " has a closed 'segregation unit' [a]way from population[, ]" which consists of " four (4) cells" capable of housing eight inmates. (Id.).

Due to the large number of inmates with disciplinary infractions, " there is not enough space" in the " [c]losed segregation units[.]" (Id.). As such, when these " inmates receive [a] final copy of their disciplinary [infraction, t]hey do not get a chance to serve their segregation as soon as they go on restriction." (Id. at 4-5).[1]

On August 14, 2012, Warden Thomas began " utiliz[ing] two separate dormitory units, namely C-1 and D-4, for the purpose of housing inmates wit[h] back-up segregation time." (Id. at 5).[2] Inmates in open segregation dorms " C-1 and D-4" are unable " to secure their property [because] the administration deems that inmates having combination locks or key locks in their possession would cause a security safety hazard." (Id.) (internal punctuation omitted). They also " [c]annot utilize their right to personal hygiene products as needed." (Id.).

The plaintiff alleges " numerous . . . inmates" in C-1 and D-4 either " have clear records" or " have already served their restriction time" but are effectively being made " to serve their restriction again" because they are housed in these open segregation dorms. (Id. at 5). The plaintiff also complains that inmates found to have engaged in " inciting a riot or rioting" are placed in " segregation dorm C-1 or D-4." (Id.). On two separate occasions in 2012-2013, the Warden " had to employ the ALDOC Riot team" because of security problems in those dorms. (Id.).

The plaintiff claims the foregoing conditions of confinement violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. (Id.). For relief, the plaintiff demands due process under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, as well as court costs. (Id. at 6). He also " demand[s that] if 'any' criminal charges [are] found, let them be placed upon the defendants." (Id.).

III. Analysis

A. Criminal Charges

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