United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
January 26, 1983
HENRY BRISBON, PLAINTIFF,
MICHAEL P. LANE, DIRECTOR OF THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, AND DANIEL C. BOSSE, WARDEN OF THE JOLIET CORRECTIONAL CENTER, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bua, District Judge.
Plaintiff Henry Brisbon, an inmate currently on "Death Row" at
the Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois and formerly
at the Joliet Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, brings
this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking
declaratory and injunctive relief for the alleged violation of
his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Before the
Court is the defendants' Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be based pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)6. For the reasons stated herein, the Motion to Dismiss is
The core issue in the plaintiff's complaint concerns the
girlfriend of Mr. Brisbon, Ms. Valerie Davis. On December 7,
1980, Ms. Davis, while employed as a librarian assigned to the
Joliet Correctional Facility, was accused of aiding inmate
Francis Scott in an escape attempt. Although an investigation of
the matter was terminated as "inconclusive" as to the guilt of
Ms. Davis, prison officials nevertheless considered her a
security risk and issued a "stop-order," effective statewide,
which prevents her from visiting the plaintiff while the latter
is in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections.*fn1
Following a series of letters sent by Ms. Davis to various public
officials in which she sought to have the "stop-order" lifted,
plaintiff filed a grievance pursuant to Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 38 par.
1003-8-8 (1981). When such grievance was found to be without
substance, plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit claiming that his
First Amendment right of association had been violated by virtue
of his having been denied the right to have Ms. Davis as a
It has never been clearly established that prisoners have an
undisputed constitutional right to have visitors. Ramos v.
Lamm, 639 F.2d 559 (10th Cir. 1980), cert. denied,
450 U.S. 1041, 101 S.Ct. 1759, 68 L.Ed.2d 239 (1981); Lynott v.
Henderson, 610 F.2d 340 (5th Cir. 1980); White v. Keller,
588 F.2d 913 (4th Cir. 1978), aff'g. 438 F. Supp. 110 (D.Md. 1977);
Walker v. Pate, 356 F.2d 502 (7th Cir. 1966), cert. denied,
384 U.S. 966, 86 S.Ct. 1598, 16 L.Ed.2d 678. Indeed, "the concept
of incarceration itself entails a restriction on the freedom of
inmates to associate with those outside of the penal
institution." Jones v. North Carolina Prisoner's Union,
433 U.S. 119, 126, 97 S.Ct. 2532, 2538, 53 L.Ed.2d 629 (1977).
Even if visitation were a constitutionally protected right,
while it is recognized that convicted prisoners do not forfeit
all constitutional protections by reason of their conviction and
incarceration, 433 U.S. at 129, 97 S.Ct. at 2539, such rights are
subject to restrictions and limitations. Bell v. Wolfish,
441 U.S. 520, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 60 L.Ed.2d 447 (1979). Thus, a prisoner
retains unfettered only those rights which are not inconsistent
with his or her status as a prisoner or with the legitimate
penological objectives of the corrections system. Pell v.
Procunier, 417 U.S. 817, 822, 94 S.Ct. 2800, 2804, 41 L.Ed.2d
495 (1974). Prison officials are free to take appropriate steps
to promote the safety of inmates and prison personnel and to
prevent unauthorized entry or exit, even where such action
infringes upon a specific constitutional guarantee such as the
First Amendment. Bell v. Wolfish, supra, 441 U.S. at 547, 99
S.Ct. at 1878; Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners' Labor Union,
supra, 433 U.S. at 129, 99 S.Ct. at 2539.
Because of the difficulties involved in the daily operation of
correctional facilities and because of their particular
expertise, prison officials must be accorded wide-ranging
deference and broad discretion in the adoption and execution of
policies and practices designed to protect and to further
institutional security. Bell v. Wolfish, supra, 441 U.S. at
547-548, 99 S.Ct. at 1878-79. In cases such as that at bar, the
Court must therefore defer to the expertise of the prison
administrators unless an abuse of the discretion afforded such
individuals has been demonstrated. No such showing has been made
in the instant case.
In light of plaintiff's background,*fn3 it is not unreasonable
for prison officials to be overly cautious in dealings with him.
Additionally, given that Ms. Davis was never totally cleared of
any wrongdoing relating to the escape incident, and indeed is
apparently still suspected of playing a role in the attempt, it
would be within the discretion of prison and correctional
officials to deem her a possible security risk.*fn4 Were this
Court to hold otherwise, it would only serve to undermine the
considerable authority necessarily accorded them. Clearly, this
Court is in no position to second-guess the officials'
conclusions regarding necessary security measures garnered from
firsthand observation of the circumstances.
That Ms. Davis was never conclusively found to be guilty of the
conduct alleged does not negate the prison officials'
determination. Security measures must only be a reasonable
response to the legitimate concerns of prison officials and need
not meet the test of any stricter scrutiny.
Bell v. Wolfish, supra; Inmates of Allegheny County Jail v.
Pierce, 612 F.2d 754, 759 (3rd Cir. 1979). No proof beyond a
reasonable doubt is therefore required before a stop-order can
issue. Given the circumstances of the case, the actions taken by
the officials in issuing the stop-order were clearly reasonable
and hence, proper.
In light of the foregoing, it is clear that plaintiff's
complaint, viewed in the light most favoring the plaintiff,
nevertheless fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendants' Motion to Dismiss
is therefore granted and the complaint is ordered dismissed.
IT IS SO ORDERED.