United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ANTWIN D. JENKINS, #09778-025, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, UNITED STATES MARSHAL SERVICE, WHITE COUNTY JAIL EMPLOYEES, WHITE COUNTY JAIL SHERIFF, and RANDY COBB, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Antwin Jenkins is currently confined in White County Jail
(“Jail”) located in Carmi, Illinois. He has been
housed there on a federal holdover since July 24, 2017.
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed'l
Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), in order to
challenge various aspects of his confinement at the Jail.
(Doc. 21). He seeks monetary damages against the defendants.
(Doc. 21, p. 6). Plaintiff's Second Amended
Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary
review under 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
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). 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).
brings five claims against the defendants for conduct that
began in July 2017. (Doc. 21). He complains that the
defendants interfered with his mail, denied him outdoor
recreational opportunities, denied him access to an
electronic law library, and deprived him of adequate
nutrition. Id. A summary of the allegations offered
in support of each claim is set forth below.
Interference with Legal Mail
alleges that his legal mail was photocopied and distributed
to members of the Jail's staff without his permission on
at least one occasion. (Doc. 21, p. 5). On August 23, 2017,
Randy Cobb (Jail administrator) and Officer Hamblin
(non-party) called Plaintiff out of his cell to speak with
him. Id. Cobb informed Plaintiff that the Jail's
staff members were aware of the complaint he filed against
them in federal court. Id. Cobb asked Plaintiff to
withdraw it. Id.
time, Plaintiff noticed that Cobb was holding a copy of the
complaint. (Doc. 21, p. 5). He recalled asking an unknown
officer to photocopy his “legal mail” the
previous night, but Plaintiff did not grant the officer
permission to make and distribute additional copies to staff.
Id. Plaintiff maintains that the officer's
decision to interfere with his legal mail without his
permission violated his constitutional rights. Id.
Denial of Outdoor Recreation
also claims that he has been denied all opportunities for
outdoor recreation since he arrived at the Jail on July 24,
2017. (Doc. 21, p. 5). He is confined in a cell with 9 adult
men for 24 hours per day. Id. The cell is the size
of a single car garage, and Plaintiff describes it as
overcrowded. Id. He cannot exercise in the cell
because it is too small and too hot. Id. The only
time he is allowed outside is for court hearings and medical
appointments. Id. Plaintiff suffers from asthma and
claims that the denial of fresh air makes it difficult to
breathe. Id. His joints have become stiff.
Id. In addition, Plaintiff lacks the vitamins and
nutrients provided by sunlight. Id.
asked Cobb to authorize outdoor recreation for the federal
inmates who are housed at the Jail. (Doc. 21, p. 5). However,
Cobb told him that the Jail is “federally
controlled” by the United States Marshal Service, and
an unnamed supervisory official informed Cobb that
“[f]ederal inmates were not to rec[ei]ve
recreation.” Id. Plaintiff maintains that
federal inmates in administrative detention and segregation
are generally allowed to have at least one hour of outdoor
recreation. Id. Given that he is not housed in
segregation or administrative detention, Plaintiff claims
that the denial of recreation amounts to cruel and unusual
Inadequate Law Library
next challenges the lack of legal resources at the Jail.
(Doc. 21, p. 5). He is unaware of any federally funded
holding facility located in the federal judicial district for
the Southern District of Illinois that is equipped with an
electronic law library. Id. However, Plaintiff
points out that federal detention centers usually provide
inmates with access to case law, federal court rules, and
other legal materials. Id. The Jail does not.
Id. As a result, Plaintiff is unable to research
“his civil case.” Id. The lack of
adequate legal resources allegedly violates Plaintiff's
right to due process of law. Id.
also complains about the Jail's diet. (Doc. 21-1, p. 1).
Cobb has authorized “a consistent diet of unhealthy
food.” Id. Each day, inmates are routinely
served a single bowl of cereal for breakfast, a microwavable
sandwich and small bag of potato chips for lunch, and a
microwavable “t.v. dinner” each night.
Id. Under Illinois law, Plaintiff claims that county
jails are required to “rotate their menu every 90
days.” Id. However, the Jail's menu has
not changed since Plaintiff arrived at the Jail on July 24,
2017. Id. Plaintiff adds that the food is
“often outdated and molded.” (Doc. 21-1, p. 2).
and other federal inmates have spoken with Cobb about the
menu on several occasions. (Doc. 21-1, p. 5). Each time, he
promises to change the menu. Id. However, Cobb never
does. Id. Several federal inmates filed a joint
complaint with Cobb on or around October 12, 2017.
Id. In it, they complained that the processed foods
and mashed potatoes are unhealthy. Id. The federal
inmates requested fresh fruit or another “healthy
alternative” at each meal. Id. Plaintiff noted
that some federal inmates receive fish, turkey, chicken,
pulled pork, beans, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables.
Id. He argues that the United States Government
provides the Jail with “more than enough funds to
properly feed” federal inmates. Id. Cobb did
not respond to the complaint. Id. The County
continues to “cut ...