The opinion of the court was delivered by: Baker, District Judge.
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, MEMORANDUM OPINION
AND FINAL ORDER
The plaintiff, Johnny Smith, is an indigent prisoner at the
Pontiac Correctional Center, a penitentiary operated by the
Department of Corrections of the State of Illinois. He seeks
only injunctive relief against the defendants.
The essence of the plaintiff's claims is that he has been
deprived of his rights under the eighth amendment to the
Constitution as it applies to the States under the fourteenth
amendment by being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment
arising from the overcrowded conditions or "double celling"
practices at Pontiac. Smith also claims that the defendants,
by ordering Smith's confinement in a double occupancy cell,
have deliberately refused him necessary medical treatment and
thereby subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment.
Relief is sought under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Jurisdiction is based upon 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3).
This case began as eight separate actions by indigent
Pontiac inmates for equitable and declaratory relief and for
money damages. The cases were consolidated for ease of
handling and judicial economy. A preliminary injunction was
issued by the court on August 14, 1980 commanding the
defendants to place the eight individual plaintiffs in single
occupancy cells in the general prison population.
Thereafter, on October 30, 1980, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
23(b)(2), the court allowed the plaintiffs' motion to proceed
as a class identified as:
"All present and future inmates of the Pontiac
Correctional Center who are, have been, or will
be punished for refusing to accept a double
The plaintiff, Johnny Smith, moved, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
42(b) for a separate trial on Count IV of the amended
complaint and sought injunctive relief only and at the same
time moved to strike the defendants' demand for a jury trial
as to that count. Smith's motion for severance of Count IV and
for a separate trial was allowed and, after briefing and
argument, the motion to strike the defendants' jury demand was
allowed on April 3, 1981.
The case proceeded to trial before the court on April 14,
1981 and the testimony of twenty-three witnesses was presented
over a period of nine days of trial. Sixty-two exhibits were
received and considered. The court also toured the prison,
heard three additional days of testimony, and received
fifty-two exhibits in connection with the proceedings for a
preliminary injunction. That evidence is considered together
with all the other evidence in the case pursuant to
The court heard testimony from inmates, from correctional
officers, from experienced corrections administrators and
penologists, from psychiatrists and other physicians
experienced with medical problems in prison administration,
and from clinical psychologists and social workers who deal
with inmates and prison programs.
The Pontiac Correctional Center is a maximum security
penitentiary. It houses inmates who have been convicted of
felonies involving violence and threat to human life. Many
inmates are serving sentences longer than ten years. All of
them are committed for extended periods of incarceration.
The prison was constructed, according to Warden James W.
Fairman, in 1871 and was built to accommodate a capacity of
1,200 prisoners. At the time of the hearing on the merits in
1981 the total population of
the prison was 1,918 inmates.*fn1 One thousand six hundred
twenty-two (1622) were inside the walls in the maximum
security unit and 296 were single celled in the medium
security unit outside the prison walls.
Pontiac has three cellblocks. They are the North, South and
West cellblocks. There are a total of 1,272 cells inside the
prison of which approximately fifty are uninhabitable due to
defective lighting, plumbing or locking systems.*fn2
Assistant Warden Wright divided the total population of
1,893 inmates at Pontiac as of March 29, 1981 into categories:
1,110 were assigned to work or school programs; 210 were in
segregation; 230 were in protective custody; and 303 were
unassigned to any job or program. Warden Fairman testified
that as of April 24, 1981 there were 600 inmates in the West
cellhouse and 410 inmates in the South cellhouse. In the North
cellhouse there were 250 inmates in segregation and fifty-two
inmates in the protective custody unit. Warden Fairman
testified further that there were 146 inmates in the West
cellhouse in protective units. One hundred seventy-two (172)
of the inmates in the South cellhouse were in protective
custody and nineteen inmates were in an orientation status,
Warden Fairman said.*fn3
As near as I am able to determine from the evidence, there
are 1622 inmates inside the walls with approximately 1220
cells to house them. Six hundred thirty-nine (639) of the
inmates are single celled for segregation or protective
custody or orientation reasons which leaves 983 inmates to be
housed in 581 cells. That means that over 56% of the inmates
at Pontiac are double celled, with the alternative being
segregation or protective custody.
The West cellhouse is a concrete block structure with ten
tiers of cells with forty-two cells per tier. The outer walls
have large glass window areas and the tiers of cells back up
to each other so that the front of each cell is a steel barred
gate that opens onto a gallery facing the windows. The cells,
as measured by the court, are 75 inches by 124 inches, or 64.5
square feet. The cells are slightly in excess of eight feet in
The West cellhouse has thirty-two showers and some inmates
report that they are able to take showers daily while others
are able to take showers three times a week. The floors of the
cells are poured concrete and the walls are concrete block.
Each cell contains a sink; a sanitary stool; two fixed beds,
welded bunk fashion or bolted to the wall; and a chest of
drawers or cardboard boxes or both for clothing and personal
belongings. Each inmate in the general population is allowed
to possess twenty-five books, twelve records and electronic
equipment such as a tape player, a radio, or a television set.
The equipage in a cell occupies so much of the available floor
space that generally the prisoners in a double cell are left
with approximately nine square feet for standing room. One
prisoner described the available open space in his cell as an
area about one and a half feet wide by four feet long.
The South cellhouse is constructed in a manner similar to
the West cellhouse except that there are eight tiers of cells
with fifty-two cells in each tier. The cells in the South
cellhouse are much the same as that in the West except that
they are slightly smaller. They measure 64 inches by 124.5
inches or 55.3 square feet and contain the same equipage as is
found in the West cellhouse. The South cellhouse has forty
showers and inmates are able to take a shower three times a
week. The South cellhouse appeared to the court to be fairly
clean and the cells again appeared to be well taken care of.
That also was the uniform observation of the witnesses.
The North cellhouse is of similar construction to the other
two and has six tiers of cells with fifty-two cells in each
tier. The cells in the North cellhouse measure 64 inches by
125 or about 55.5 square feet. In the North cellhouse each
tier of cells has two showers, and showers are available to
inmates once a week. The laundry services in the North
cellhouse are available on a once-a-week basis. The witnesses
uniformly observed that the North cellhouse was not as neat or
clean as the South and West cellhouses.*fn4
In the general population, the two-man cells are uniformly
very small and cramped*fn5 and it is difficult if not
impossible to move about the cell unless one inmate is on a
bunk. Dr. Christianson, the court appointed expert, related
that the cells were so cramped that he had to back out of one
of them to permit an inmate to leave. That observation is
substantiated by the court's own inspection of the cells at
The sink in the cell has a cold water and a hot water tap.
Inmates report that hot water is available only on an
intermittent basis and the court appointed expert, Dr.
Christianson, reported that there was no hot water in the taps
that he tested at the time of his visit.
Light is provided in the cells by a single fluorescent bulb
in the ceiling and air vents are present in the upper back
wall in the West cellhouse and in the lower rear wall in each
of the other cellhouses. The inmates cover the vents in most
instances to cut off the spread of dust and roaches. R. at
364-65. In those cells where the vents were open, Dr.
Christianson said he could feel no airflow.
The West and South cellhouses have fairly large yard areas
connected to them. The yard areas are fenced in with cyclone
wire fencing and have half court basketball and other
recreational equipment available. The North cellhouse has two
small yards which will allow a maximum of ten inmates in a
yard area at any one time.
Of the 1622 prisoners inside the walls at Pontiac only about
one-half have regular work or school assignments. The
remaining half of the population is divided into unassigned or
idle general population, protective custody or disciplinary
segregation. The West cellhouse population comprises the
assigned or work force. Most of the unassigned inmates are
housed in the South cellhouse. The North cellhouse contains
the prisoners in disciplinary segregation and those in
The daily routine of prisoners and the quality of life in
Pontiac I found was best gathered from the testimony of the
inmates themselves which I credit.
John Joseph Generella is a fifty-three year old inmate at
Pontiac who lives in the West cellhouse. Generella was serving
a four year term for robbery and attempted burglary and
theft.*fn6 He has a job assignment in the institution caring
for the inner lawn and is also a boxing coach at the
institution's gymnasium. Generella has had a succession of
cellmates who caused him trouble. He describes one "celly" who
was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. R. at 325-26, 328. Generella
says he was fearful of attack by other inmates because it was
thought that he too was a member of the Klan. One cellmate was
a Black youth who belonged to a Black gang and used his
connections in an attempt to extort personal property from
Generella. R. at 326, 330. Generella says that he had to
threaten to strike that cellmate with the stool to put an end
to the extortion. Generella reports that he had a similar
experience with a Hispanic youth who belonged to a Hispanic
Generella says that double celling is a constant source of
difficulties. You live in constant fear that your cellmate may
"go off," that is attack you.*fn7 You have no individual
property. Your personal belongings become common property with
the cellmate. It is smart to share or else you have to fight
and the stronger man in the cell will always win and dominate
matters. R. at 327, 332-34.
Mr. Generella has had problems with cellmates who would
spatter the cell floor when they urinated in the toilet. R. at
331. He had one sixteen year old cellmate who spent a good
deal of his time sitting in the corner masturbating before the
picture of a nude woman. R. at 335. There is the continual
fear, he says, of homosexual attack. A grievance is an
ineffective tool to remedy a difficulty with a cellmate,
Generella says, because of the time involved in processing a
Generella says that he can't go out to the yard on Sundays
because of gang fear, R. at 337, but because of his lawn job
and his assignment as a boxing coach at the gymnasium,
Generella is out of his cell about six hours a day, five days
a week. While working at his lawn assignment, however,
Generella states, his tasks generally take fifteen minutes to
complete and during the remaining four hours, he just pushes
dirt around. R. at 312-13.
Yusuaf Asad Madyun, also known as Joseph Hurst, is a
murderer. In 1968 he was sentenced to death which was reduced
to 100 to 300 years. He is also serving a term of nineteen to
twenty years for attempted murder and a third term of nine to
ten years for aggravated battery.
Hurst was graduated from high school in 1961. He attended
Southern Illinois University and Iowa State for a time and
worked for two years as a CTA bus driver in the City of
Chicago. He also was employed as a driver for the Nabisco
He first went to Pontiac on May 8, 1974, and he has been a
resident there ever since. He has lived in a single cell since
August 1980 when this court issued a temporary injunction
directing that he be placed in a single cell. He currently
lives in the South cellhouse where most residents are
unassigned except to the mess hall and to cellhouse cleaning
of the common areas. Madyun is unassigned mainly because he
has refused assignments which he didn't think were challenging
mentally. R. at 130-31.
The mess hall is located in the South cellhouse and the
South cellhouse inmates eat after the West cellhouse inmates
have been served. Madyun says he is out of the cell for about
forty minutes for breakfast and then back in the cell until
"yard"*fn8 is called. Madyun says he may also have a "call
line"*fn9 about four times a week which permits him to leave
the cell and move about the institution to a designated place
but that some inmates have no call lines. R. at 136. Yard time
during the morning lasts for about an hour to one hour and a
quarter. In the winter time yard occurs only in the morning
but in the summer it occurs in the afternoons as well. There
is only one yard call ...