IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
August 23, 2012
TONY HILTON, PLAINTIFF,
JOHN REEVES, AND JODY HATHAWAY, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Murphy, District Judge:
MEMORANDUM and ORDER
Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that, while he was incarcerated at Shawnee Correctional Center in 2008, he was labeled as a sexual predator. Plaintiff believes that an IDOC Administrative Directive provides that an inmate can be labeled as a sexual predator only after he has been found guilty of an offense charged in a disciplinary report. As a result of being labeled as a predator, he alleges, he has been denied a transfer to a lower security prison, and has been denied access to programs such as drug rehabilitation and vocational training. He alleges that John Reeves, a psychiatric health care provider, and Warden Jody Hathaway labeled hm as a predator and/or have the authority to remove the label. He also alleges that he has not received responses to all of his grievances, the Administrative Review Board was wrong to deny a grievance as untimely, and Warden Hathaway has not responded to his many letters.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint. Accepting Plaintiff's allegations as true, the Court finds that Plaintiff has not articulated a colorable federal claim against either Defendant.
No constitutional right is implicated by the labeling of Plaintiff as sexual predator. For the due process clause to be applicable, there must be a protected liberty interest that is being infringed upon. Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S 215, 223-24 (1976). Not every action that carries with it negative consequences creates a liberty interest. Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 86-88 (1976). "[P]risoners possess neither liberty nor property in their classifications and prison assignments. States may move their charges to any prison in the system." DeTomaso v. McGinnis, 970 F.2d 211, 212 (7th Cir. 1992) (citing Montanye v. Haymes, 427 U.S. 236 (1976)). See also Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224 (1976) (the Constitution does not guarantee placement in a particular prison).*fn1 Further, Plaintiff has no constitutional right to participate in a drug rehab program, vocational training, or a work program. DeTomaso, 970 F.2d at 212-213. Therefore, the fact that Plaintiff's status as a predator may make him ineligible for such programs is of no constitutional significance.
Plaintiff's claim that prison officials did not follow an Administrative Directive in labeling him as a predator does not state a federal claim that can be pursued in a case brought under Section 1983. Failure to follow state rules or statutes does not violate Plaintiff's federal constitutional rights. Thompson v. City of Chicago, 472 F.3d 444, 454-455 (7th Cir. 2006).
Lastly, plaintiff's allegations concerning the grievance process, the lack of response to his grievances and letters, and the Administrative Review Board's erroneous denial of a grievance do not state a claim. 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 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). Further, denying a grievance does not violate the Constitution and cannot form the basis for a claim under Section 1983. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 609-610 (7th Cir. 2007).
Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel (Doc. 3) is DENIED as moot.
Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2) will be ruled on in due course.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED with prejudice. Plaintiff is ADVISED that this dismissal shall count as one of his allotted "strikes" under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Plaintiff's obligation to pay the filing fee for this action was incurred at the time the action was filed, thus the filing fee remains due and payable. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1); Lucien v. Jockisch, 133 F.3d 464, 467 (7th Cir. 1998).
The Clerk shall CLOSE THIS CASE and enter judgment accordingly.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
G. PATRICK MURPHY United States District Judge