United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, District Judge.
Carl Mack is currently incarcerated at Shawnee Correctional
Center (“Shawnee”). He brings this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious
Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. §
2000cc-1(A), in order to challenge the denial of access to
Hebrew Israelite worship services at Shawnee. (Doc. 1, pp.
4-5). Plaintiff seeks monetary damages against the defendants
and access to worship services. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
Complaint is now subject to preliminary review 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 governmental entity.
(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
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). Frivolousness is an
objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable
person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209
F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of
entitlement to relief must cross “the line between
possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At
this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se
complaint are to be liberally construed. See
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816,
821 (7th Cir. 2009). The Complaint survives screening under
is a practicing Hebrew Israelite. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). When he
arrived at Shawnee on August 29, 2017,  he submitted a
written request for access to religious worship services.
(Doc. 1, p. 4). The prison's chaplain (“Unknown
Chaplain”) did not meet with Plaintiff to discuss his
request until more than a month later. Id. At the
meeting, the chaplain explained that he was not familiar with
Plaintiff's religion but would speak with the assistant
warden (“Walker”) about the availability of
worship services. Id.
doing so, the chaplain and assistant warden offered to set up
a meeting on Plaintiff's behalf with the prison's
rabbi. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff explained that the meeting
was unnecessary because Plaintiff is not Jewish. Id.
The chaplain and assistant warden nevertheless scheduled a
meeting with the rabbi for October 9, 2017. Id.
Schemon met with Plaintiff on that date but agreed that he
could do nothing for Plaintiff because his religion is
unrelated to Judaism. (Doc. 1, p. 4). The chaplain informed
Plaintiff that he would speak with the assistant warden about
finding a religious service for Plaintiff to attend.
Id. To date, no services have been offered to him.
filed a grievance to challenge the denial of access to
religious worship services. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). The grievance
was denied at every level. Id. This includes the
denial of his grievance by the Administrative Review Board
(“Ann Lahr”). (Doc. 1, p. 5).
asserts that he has suffered from significant spiritual,
mental, and physical pain at Shawnee as a result of this
deprivation. (Doc. 1, p. 5). The prison allegedly has many
Hebrew Israelite inmates, and Plaintiff routinely greets them
with “shalom” when he sees them. Id.
However, Plaintiff's ...