United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
WILLIAM E. JONES, Plaintiff,
LT. HANES, LT. JANE DOE NANCY, and JEFFERSON COUNTY JUSTICE CENTER, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Phil Gilbert, United States District Judge
William E. Jones, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently
incarcerated at Graham Correctional Center, brings this
action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges
that his privacy rights were violated while he was a pretrial
detainee at the Jefferson County Justice Center.
case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section
1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to
filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). Any portion of a complaint that is legally
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a
defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be
dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations:
Plaintiff arrived at the Jefferson County Justice Center on
December 28, 2018 and was placed in a cell by Lt. Jane Doe
(also known as Nancy). (Doc. 1, p. 1). The security camera
outside the cell had a direct view of the shower and toilet
in Plaintiff's cell. Plaintiff put up a blanket to give
him privacy from the camera and Lt. Hanes told him to take
the blanket down or he would be written a ticket.
(Id.). Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants
violated his privacy rights by having the camera in direct
view of the toilet.
on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
the following single count:
Count 1:Lt. Jane Doe (Nancy) and Lt. Hanes violated
Plaintiff's constitutional right to
privacy by placing him in a cell with a security camera
directly in view of his shower and toilet.
parties and the Court will use these designations in all
future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a
judicial officer of this Court. Any other claim that
is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order
should be considered dismissed without prejudice as
inadequately pled under the Twombly pleading
alleges that Defendants violated his privacy by placing him
in a cell where a security camera had a direct view of his
shower and toilet. He was also not allowed to put up a sheet
to protect his privacy while he used the bathroom in view of
best, prisoners have “very limited privacy
rights.” Franklin v. McCaughtry, 110 Fed.Appx.
715, 719 (7th Cir. 2004) (citing Anderson v. Romero,
72 F.3d 518, 522 (7th Cir. 1995)). Those rights, however, are
limited due to the realities of confinement, most importantly
the need to maintain security and order in jails and prisons.
Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 545-46 (1979)
(“There must be mutual accommodation between
institutional needs and objectives and the provisions of the
Constitution that are of general application.”)
(internal quotation omitted). The Seventh Circuit has found
that a prison has a “very strong interest in having
guards observe prisoners at all times and in all
situations.” Canedy v. Boardman, 91 F.3d 30,
34 (7th Cir. 1996). This is because constant observation
provides for a more secure facility. See Canedy v.
Boardman, 16 F.3d 183, 186 (7th Cir. 1994) (in suit
relating to constitutionality of female guards observing male
inmates in states of undress and during private settings,
court noted that “prison officials have an obvious
interest in security.”).
detainees nor prisoners have a right to be free from
reasonable surveillance. For instance, a prisoner retains no
expectation of privacy in his cell under the Fourth
Amendment. Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 523-30
(1984). Likewise, the Seventh Circuit has found no protected
privacy interest at stake, in the context of jail policies
that expose nude male detainees to female guards. Johnson
v. Phelan, 69 F.3d 144, 146 (7th Cir. 1995) (holding
that female prison guards can monitor male detainees who are
in the shower or on the toilet). Indeed, the
“monitoring of naked prisoners is not only
permissible…but also sometimes mandatory.”
Matthews v. Raemisch, 513 Fed.Appx. 605, 608 (7th
Cir. 2013) (quoting Johnson, 69 F.3d at 146).
the above, the fact that Plaintiff was placed in a cell with
a surveillance camera that could see him while in the toilet
or shower, standing on its own, does not state a claim. The
use of a camera in a detainees' cell that observes all
parts of the cell is clearly in furtherance of the jail's
very strong interest in constant observation of the