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Bey v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 23, 2019




         Plaintiff Montez Rashaad Williams Bey, who was an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) at the time he filed his Complaint but has since been released, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated his due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment when they failed to provide him with a comprehensive re-entry plan and the interest from his inmate trust fund. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

         This 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).

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations: Sometime after arriving at East Moline Correctional Center on February 8, 2018, Plaintiff read in the ABA Criminal Justice Standards on Treatment of Prisoners that he was entitled to a comprehensive re-entry plan prior to his release from IDOC custody. (Doc. 1, p. 2-3). On October 5, 2018, Plaintiff wrote a grievance asking about his comprehensive re-entry plan but never received a response. (Id. at p. 3). He wrote a letter to his counselor asking for his re-entry plan and his counselor responded that his parole plan was still pending in Chicago. On April 29, 2019, Plaintiff sent a request slip to Warden Hamilton asking for assistance with his re-entry plan. (Doc 1, p. 4). The warden's secretary responded to the request indicating that clinical services may have classes to help Plaintiff prepare for release. (Id.). He also submitted a grievance setting forth his plan needs. (Id. at p. 5).

         Plaintiff attended a parole school hosted by Hutton and Andrew Zickert on May 15, 2019. (Id. at p. 6). Plaintiff was provided a packet for the class, which he read. Inmates asked questions, and Hutton provided useful information. But Zickert, who informed the class it was his first parole school, was not knowledgeable on the subject. Zickert read the entire packet, Hutton answered questions from inmates, and the class was dismissed. Plaintiff approached Hutton and Zickert after the class, provided him with his self-made re-entry plan, and informed them that he needed help from the counselors on his plan and obtaining financial assistance upon his release. (Id. at pp. 6-7). Zickert informed Plaintiff that was not part of his job duties and that Plaintiff's questions about financial assistance were addressed at a previous summit. (Id. at p. 7). Hutton stated that he would have to ask his supervisor, Nicole Genisio, about providing Plaintiff with a plan, as he had not seen a plan like the one presented by Plaintiff nor had an inmate ever asked for such a plan. (Id.). Hutton wrote Plaintiff a response on May 20, 2019 informing him that the counselors could not help him with his request, and he would have to seek assistance through the law library. (Id. at p. 8).

         Plaintiff also sent a grievance about his re-entry plan but Zickert responded on May 16, 2019, informing Plaintiff that he could have attended the re-entry summit on May 8 but Plaintiff declined the invitation. (Id. at p. 9). The summit, put together by counselors, invites vendors who provide services to inmates being released and includes multiple topics on loans, housing, jobs, and education. Plaintiff admits that he declined to attend the summit after speaking with other inmates as he believed that it did not meet his needs. The summit was already shown on the prison's movie channel, and Plaintiff did not believe there would be any additional information for him at the summit. (Id. at p. 8). Plaintiff also received a counseling summary response from Zickert on May 16, 2019, which indicated that all information about re-entry was presented at the summit and all information about his release was already provided to Plaintiff. (Id. at pp. 8-9). Plaintiff does not believe that he has received all information because he has not received a copy of counselors' duties, proof of identification, grievances, and which statutes, codes, rules, and regulations apply to Defendants. Plaintiff alleges that if he is not given a proper re-entry plan, he will not have financial support, clothing, and transportation upon his release from prison. (Doc. 1, p. 13).

         Plaintiff believes that the counselors have violated their job duties by not properly preparing a re-entry plan for him. He requested a copy of the counselor's job description from Todd Pustelnik, Zickert, and Hamilton but was told that he was not allowed to have a copy and that the job description was available on the IDOC website. Plaintiff believes the information is being improperly kept from him. (Id. at p. 3).

         In addition to his requests regarding a re-entry plan, Plaintiff sent requests regarding the interest accumulated in his prison trust fund account. (Doc. 1, p. 13). He received a response from the business office stating that inmates do not receive interest as all interest is paid to the Inmate Benefit Fund (“IBF”). (Id.). Plaintiff believes this was improper because the statute does not allow for IBF to keep the interest on his account. Plaintiff sent a request slip to Brannon asking how to receive funds from the IBF. (Id. at p. 14). The business office responded that the IBF was used for the benefit of all inmates, but Plaintiff believes he should be able to access the funds because he is indigent. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his due process rights by not providing him with the interest and/or funds from the IBF.


         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following two counts:

Count 1: Fourteenth Amendment claim against Defendants for depriving Plaintiff of his comprehensive re-entry plan without due process.
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment claim against Defendants for depriving Plaintiff of the interest in his trust fund account without due process.

         The 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 theComplaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed ...

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