The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID HERNDON, District Judge
Plaintiff, formerly an inmate in the St. Clair County Jail
(hereinafter "the jail"), brings this action for deprivations of
his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.*fn1
Plaintiff previously was granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis, and he has tendered his initial partial filing fee as
ordered. In this case, Plaintiff sets forth a litany of gripes
about conditions at the jail; he divides his complaint into 15
separate claims, as summarized and 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 complaint
(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; portions of
this action are legally frivolous and thus subject to summary
GENERAL PRINCIPLES: PRE-TRIAL DETAINEES
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
Plaintiff's first claim is that the law library at the jail is
woefully inadequate. He states that case reporters are outdated,
that pages are missing from many of the books, and there are no
certified paralegals or jailhouse law clerks employed to assist
inmates with their legal matters.
The Seventh Circuit uses a two-part test to decide if prison
administrators have violated the right of access to the courts.
Smith v. Shawnee Library Sys., 60 F.3d 317 (7th Cir. 1995);
Jenkins v. Lane, 977 F.2d 266, 268 (7th Cir. 1992). First, the
prisoner must show that prison officials failed "to assist in the
preparation and filing of meaningful legal papers by providing
prisoners with adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from
persons trained in the law." Jenkins, 977 F.2d at 268 (quoting
Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 828 (1977)). Second, he must be
able to show "some quantum of detriment caused by the challenged
conduct of state officials resulting in the interruption and/or
delay of plaintiff's pending or contemplated litigation." Alston
v. DeBruyn, 13 F.3d 1036, 1041 (7th Cir. 1994); Jenkins,
977 F.2d at 268; Shango v. Jurich, 965 F.2d 289, 291 (7th
Cir. 1992); Howland v. Kilquist, 833 F.2d 639, 642-43 (7th
Cir. 1987); Hossman v. Sprandlin, 812 F.2d 1019, 1021 n. 2
(7th Cir. 1987). That means that a detriment must exist, a
detriment resulting from illegal conduct that affects litigation.
It does not mean that any delay is a detriment. Kincaid v.
Vail, 969 F.2d 594, 603 (7th Cir. 1992), cert. denied,
113 S.Ct. 1002 (1993). Regardless of the length of an alleged delay,
a prisoner must show actual substantial prejudice to specific
litigation. Kincaid, 969 F.2d at 603.
In this case, Plaintiff has not alleged that he suffered any
actual prejudice to any pending litigation due to the perceived
inadequacy of the jail's law library. Therefore, he has failed to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and Count 1 is
dismissed from this action without prejudice with leave to amend
his complaint to properly plead his case if he has one for this
Plaintiff next alleges, generically, that the disciplinary
procedures at the jail do not pass constitutional muster.
When a plaintiff brings an action under § 1983 for procedural
due process violations, he must show that the state deprived him
of a constitutionally protected interest in "life, liberty, or
property" without due process of law. Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113
125 (1990). See also 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
, 1289 (7th Cir. 1991). However,
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
In Wolff, the Supreme Court set out the minimal procedural
protections that must be provided to a prisoner in disciplinary
proceedings in which the prisoner loses good time, is confined to
a disciplinary segregation, or otherwise subjected to some
comparable deprivation of a constitutionally protected liberty
interest. Id. at 556-72.
Wolff required that inmates facing disciplinary
charges for misconduct be accorded  24 hours'
advance written notice of the charges against them;
 a right to call witnesses and present documentary
evidence in defense, unless doing so would jeopardize
institutional safety or correctional goals;  the
aid of a staff member or inmate in presenting a
defense, provided the inmate is illiterate or the
issues complex;  an impartial tribunal; and  a
written statement of reasons relied on by the
tribunal. 418 U.S. at 563-572.
Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460
, 466 n. 3 (1983). In this case, Plaintiff does not include any allegations
suggesting that he, personally, was ever subjected to any
disciplinary proceedings for any charged misconduct, or that he,
personally, was deprived of any constitutionally protected
liberty interest. Therefore, he has failed to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, and Count 2 is dismissed from this
action without prejudice with leave to amend his complaint to
properly plead his case if he has one for this count.
Plaintiff alleges that virtually all of the cells at the jail
are frequented by roaches and other insects. These insects crawl
into beds and showers, roam across tables, and occasionally find
their way into meals.
The Constitution does not require the jail to ensure the
comfort of each prisoner, but only to provide such necessities as
food, medical care, sanitation, and a safe environment. Rhodes
v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347-48 (1981); Bell v. Wolfish,
441 U.S. 520, 535, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 1872 (1979); compare Thompson v.
City of Los Angeles, 885 F.2d 1439, 1448 (9th Cir. 1989)
(failure to provide bed or mattress punishment) and Hamm v.
DeKalb County, 774 F.2d 1567, 1575 (11th Cir. 1985), cert.
denied, 475 U.S. 1096 (1986) (unsanitary food and sleeping on
mattress on floor not punishment). In a case involving conditions
of confinement in a prison, two elements are required to
establish violations of the Eighth Amendment's cruel and unusual
punishments clause. First, an objective element requires a
showing that the conditions deny the inmate "the minimal
civilized measure of life's necessities," creating an excessive
risk to the inmate's health or safety. Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). The second requirement is a subjective
element establishing a defendant's culpable state of mind.
Although the presence of roaches and other insects may be
unpleasant, the presence of a few bugs does not create an excessive risk to his health or safety.
Further, Plaintiff does not allege that he has suffered any harm
as the result of these conditions. Instead, he merely expresses
concern over exposure to "potential risks of harm." However,
"[n]o Federal civil action may be brought by a prisoner confined
in a jail, prison, or other correctional facility, for mental or
emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior
showing of physical injury." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e).
Therefore, he has failed to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted, and Count 3 is dismissed ...