Name of Assigned Judge HARRY D. LEINENWEBER Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge
The plaintiff may proceed on his amended complaint, but only insofar as he is challenging the adequacy of the food served at the jail. On the court's own motion, all other claims are summarily dismissed on preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The clerk is directed to: (1) file the amended complaint; (2) issue summons for service on defendant Dart by the U.S. Marshal; and (3) send the plaintiff a magistrate judge consent form and filing instructions along with a copy of this order.
O [For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.
The plaintiff, a pretrial detainee in the custody of the Cook County Department of Corrections, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claims that the defendant, the Sheriff of Cook County, has violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by subjecting him to inhumane conditions of confinement. More specifically, the plaintiff challenges the jail's "18-6 policy," as well as general conditions at the facility.
The plaintiff has submitted an amended complaint, as directed. See Minute Order of June 1, 2012. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court is required to conduct a prompt initial review of prisoner complaints against governmental entities or employees. Here, accepting the plaintiff's factual allegations as true, the court finds that the amended complaint states a colorable cause of action under the Civil Rights Act only to the extent that he contends that the food served at the jail is nutritionally and calorically inadequate. All other claims are summarily dismissed on preliminary review.
The plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the jail, facing prosecution for an allegedly non-violent crime. The plaintiff contends that although he is classified as medium security, he is housed like a maximum security prisoner. The plaintiff maintains that: (1) the jail's "18-6 policy" violates the Constitution and federal jail standards; (2) the jail is overcrowded (two inmates are forced to share a small cell); (3) the facility offers unsatisfactory medical care; (4) there is inadequate access to the jail law library; (5) some smaller day rooms lack exercise equipment, and are outfitted with only a television and tables; (6) there are no lock-boxes for letters and other personal property; (7) the food at the jail is calorically and nutritionally deficient; and (8) some detainees victimize their cellmates. The plaintiff also makes an equal protection claim that certain tiers are assigned better day rooms and longer hours outside their cells.
Most of the plaintiff's claims are non-actionable. For pretrial detainees, in order to state a conditions-of-confinement claim of constitutional significance, the challenged condition must amount to "punishment" without due process. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979); Tesch v. Cty. of Green Lake, 157 F.3d 465, 472--73 (7th Cir. 1998). The Due Process clause prohibits the State from punishing a pretrial detainee and requires jail officials to "provide humane conditions of [pretrial] confinement." Stead v. Skinner, No. 10 C 4526, 2011 WL 3882809, *3 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 2, 2011) (citing Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 844-45 (7th Cir. 1999)). A determination whether jail conditions constitute "punishment" turns on the totality of the conditions of confinement. DeMallory v. Cullen, 855 F.2d 442, 445 (7th Cir. 1988) (citations omitted); Bennett v. Sheahan, No. 99 C 2270, 1999 WL 967534, *3 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 5, 1999) (Holderman, J.).
The plaintiff's challenge to the "18 and 6 policy" is dismissed. Despite being invited to do so, the plaintiff has not explained precisely what the 18 and 6 policy involves, but as the court understands the practice, inmates spend up to eighteen hours at a time in their cells and then have six hours in the day room, on a rotating basis. As discussed in its prior order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has routinely upheld lockdowns of more than the 18-21 hours the plaintiff says he has to endure. See, e.g., Davenport v. DeRobertis, 844 F.2d 1310, 1314 (7th Cir. 1988); Caldwell v. Miller, 790 F.2d 589, 600 (7th Cir. 1986). Being afforded three to six hours a day out of his cell does not violate the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Even if the policy somehow violates American Correctional Association standards, as the plaintiff asserts, a violation of those standards is not the same as a constitutional violation. See Rufo v. Inmates of Suffolk County Jail, 502 U.S. 367, 391 n.13 (1992) (citing Bell, supra, 441 U.S. at 544, n. 27) ("[W]hile the recommendations of these various groups may be instructive in certain cases, they simply do not establish the constitutional minima")).
Likewise, double celling of inmates is not a per se violation of the Constitution. See, e.g., Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 352 (1981); Smith v. Fairman, 690 F.2d 122, 125-26 (7th Cir. 1982) (1983); French v. Owens, 777 F.2d 1250, 1252 (7th Cir. 1985). Placing two or more inmates in a cell together is common institutional practice. See Bell, 441 U.S. at 541--43. There is not "some sort of one man, one cell principle lurking in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment." Elliott v. Baker, No. 01 C 0174, 2008 WL 4876871, *3 (N.D.
Ill. Jul. 28, 2008) (Andersen, J.) (quoting Bell, 441 U.S. at 542; see also Allison v. Snyder, 332 F.3d ...