The opinion of the court was delivered by: G. PATRICK MURPHY, Chief Judge, District
Plaintiff, currently an inmate in the Graham Correctional
Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff previously was
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and he has tendered
his initial partial filing fee as ordered. In his complaint,
Plaintiff presents a litany of gripes about conditions he endured
in the Madison County Jail from his arrival there in May 2003
through early September 2003, when he filed this action; each of
these gripes is discussed below.
This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of
the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(a) Screening. The court shall review, before
docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as
practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil
action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a
(b) Grounds for Dismissal. On review, the court
shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks
an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319
, 325 (1989). Upon careful review of the
complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it
appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; parts of
this action are legally frivolous and, thus, subject to summary
PRE-TRIAL DETAINEES GENERALLY
To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the
violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the
United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law. West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Generally, confinement of
pretrial detainees may not be punitive, because "under the Due
Process Clause, a detainee may not be punished prior to an
adjudication of guilt." Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535
(1979). Thus, conditions of pretrial confinement must be
"reasonably related to a legitimate governmental objective."
Id. at 539. See also Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717
(7th Cir. 1995); Brownell v. Figel, 950 F.2d 1285 (7th
Cir. 1991). At the same time, "[t]he conditions of imprisonment,
whether of pretrial detainees or of convicted criminals, do not
reach even the threshold of constitutional concern until a
showing is made of `genuine privations and hardship over an
extended period of time.'" Duran v. Elrod, 760 F.2d 756, 759
(7th Cir. 1985). Lapses from minimum standards of sanitation
may be excusable where such conditions are temporary and affect
only a few individuals. Lunsford v. Bennett, 17 F.3d 1574, 1580
(7th Cir. 1994); Harris v. Fleming, 839 F.2d 1232 (7th
Cir. 1988). 1. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
Plaintiff's first claim involves the handling of grievances at
Madison County Jail. He states that in August 2003, he presented
Hertz and Gulash with a multi-part grievance. In response, Gulash
came to the cell block, briefly reviewed the grievance, and
orally rendered his opinion that the grievance had no merit.
Plaintiff is upset that Gulash would not provide him with a
photocopy of the grievance, nor would Gulash sign it. Plaintiff
alleges that such handling of his grievance constitutes a denial
of due process.
"[A] state's inmate grievance procedures do not give rise to a
liberty interest protected by the due process clause." Antonelli
v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430 (7th Cir. 1995). The
Constitution requires no procedure at all, and the failure of
state prison officials to follow their own procedures does not,
of itself, violate the Constitution. Maust v. Headley,
959 F.2d 644, 648 (7th Cir. 1992); Shango v. Jurich, 681 F.2d 1091
(7th Cir. 1982). Accordingly, Plaintiff is not entitled to
any particular procedures in the handling of his grievances, and
no constitutional violation occurred when an oral opinion was
rendered. Therefore, Plaintiff's claim regarding the handling of
his grievances is dismissed from this action with prejudice.
Plaintiff states that on two different occasions, he was
"locked down" for no reason, and unspecified privileges were
revoked. He alleges that this treatment constitutes a violation
of his rights to due process.
Although confinement of pretrial detainees may not be punitive,
see Bell, 441 U.S. at 535,
a pretrial detainee can be punished for misconduct
that occurs while he is awaiting trial in a pretrial
confinement status. Notably, the basis for this
punishment is not the underlying crime of which he
stands accused; rather, this punishment is based upon
the detainee's actions while in pretrial confinement.
Rapier v. Harris, 172 F.3d 999
, 1003 (7th Cir. 1999). The
Seventh Circuit has also recognized that, for pretrial detainees,
procedural protections are required prior to the imposition of
any punishment. Rapier, 172 F.3d at 1005; Whitford v.
Boglino, 63 F.3d 527, 531 n. 4 (7th Cir. 1995) (indicating
in dictum that a due process hearing is required). See generally
Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539
Plaintiff alleges that he was accorded no due process at all
before being locked down; therefore, the Court is unable to
dismiss this due process claim at this point in the litigation.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Plaintiff states that Madison County Jail does not provide free
haircuts to inmates. Instead, a local barber periodically comes
in to provide services, charging $3-5 per haircut. In the
four-month period covered by the complaint, the barber only came
once; Plaintiff alleges that he was denied a haircut at that
The Court is unaware of any constitutional provision requiring
that an inmate be provided with a free haircut, or with any
haircut at all. Therefore, Plaintiff's claim regarding ...