United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
EDWARD A. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
CHRISTINE BRANNON, et al., Defendants.
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
BILLY McDADE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
proceeding pro se files an action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 alleging deliberate indifference to his serious
mental health needs and a violation of due process at the
East Moline Correctional Center (“EMCC”). The
case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. In reviewing the Complaint, the Court
accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing
them in Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour,
729 F.3d 645, (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements
and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to
"'state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.'" Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418,
422 (7th Cir. 2013)(quoted cite omitted). While the pleading
standard does not require “detailed factual
allegations”, it requires “more than an
accusation.” Wilson v. Ryker, 451 Fed.Appx.
588, 589 (7th Cir. 2011) quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
has filed a lengthy, confusing complaint, pleading a history
of depression and anxiety. Plaintiff indicates that during a
prior term of incarceration at the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”), he was broke brutally raped
by a staff member. After his release, Plaintiff developed a
drug addiction and, at some point, was arrested and convicted
for the unauthorized use of a weapon. When he was evaluated
for “TASC” probation (Treatment Alternatives for
Safe Communities), it was recommended that he undergo
treatment, though it is not clear whether this was mental
health treatment, substance abuse treatment, or both.
was subsequently sentenced to a second term in IDOC,
presumably due to the weapons conviction. He was originally
to be placed in a treatment program at Sheridan Correctional
Center, based on the TASC recommendation. It appears,
however, that there was a lack of bed space at Sheridan and
Plaintiff was sent to Pontiac. Plaintiff subsequently grieved
the Pontiac placement, asserting that it is a medium/maximum
security facility and he was evaluated as only a minimum
security risk. Plaintiff was later transferred to EMCC, a
minimum security facility, which does not have a treatment
program. Plaintiff complains that he has not yet been placed
in a treatment program, that it takes two years to complete
such a program, and that he has only two years remaining on
revealing a history of only depression and anxiety, Plaintiff
claims that he has been hearing voices telling him to kill
others and believes others are trying to kill him. He claims
that he needs a treatment program so he will be functional
when released from custody. This is particularly important as
a treatment program would provide him post-release services
including help in securing housing and employment, and other
support services not particularly identified.
asserts that Defendant Genisio, a caseworker supervisor, has
wrongfully postponed his transfer to another facility based
on a disciplinary charge he received. Plaintiff explains that
on May 4, 2019, he mistakenly entered the wrong room and was
issued a disciplinary report for unauthorized movement. When
Plaintiff subsequently approached Defendant Genisio regarding
a transfer, Defendant told him he would not be eligible for
90 days, due to the disciplinary ticket.
has grieved the issue of the 90-day transfer restriction and
demanded that Defendant Genisio and Defendant Huton, a
counselor, produce the policy which authorizes this.
Plaintiff asserts that Defendants have either provided
“less than competent” responses or have failed to
12, 2019, Plaintiff went before the Adjustment Committee for
hearing on the disciplinary ticket. Plaintiff was found
guilty and sentenced to seven days of unit restrictions.
Plaintiff asserts that, as the Adjustment Committee did not
impose a 90-day restriction on his transfer to another
facility, Defendant Genisio wrongfully, and without due
process, imposed this penalty. Plaintiff also implicates the
EMCC Chief Administrative Officer (“CAO”)
Brannon, asserting that Defendant Brannon wrongfully affirmed
the transfer restriction. Plaintiff asserts that
Defendants' actions were in violation of Ill.Admin.Code
§504.20, which does not include transfer restriction as
one of the penalties which may be imposed by the Adjustment
also makes a vague claim that his current incarceration
prevents “good time” which is assumed to be the
accumulation of good time credits against his sentence. It is
not clear, however, and Plaintiff does not affirmatively
state, that if he were placed in a treatment program, he
would have the ability to earn good time credits not
available to him at EMCC.
makes an additional claim against Defendant Flores, a mental
health worker, asserting that she was deliberately
indifferent to his serious mental health needs. Plaintiff
alleges that on June 25, 2019, he told Sergeant Burgess, not
a party, that he needed unspecified mental health
intervention. Sergeant Burgess informed Defendant Flores who
did not see him that day and, perhaps, did not see him at
all. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant is the only mental
health provider for 1300 inmates. He also appears to
implicate Defendant Brannon in the alleged failure to provide
mental health treatment.
claims regarding the failure to provide a prison transfer are
reviewed under the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment, rather than under the Eighth Amendment. See
Walker v. Gardner, No. 16-297-, 2016 WL 6581870, at *1
(W.D. Wis. Nov. 4, 2016) (the failure to transfer prisoner
for drug treatment did not allege a deprivation of “the
minimal civilized measures of life's necessities”
so as to state an Eighth Amendment claim). It has been
clearly established that inmates generally do not have a due
process interest as to prison transfers. Meachum v.
Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 225 (1976) (“[t]hat life in
one prison is much more disagreeable than in another does not
in itself signify that a Fourteenth Amendment liberty
interest is implicated”). A constitutionally protected
liberty interest may be at issue, however, if Plaintiff is
subjected to conditions at one prison, which represent an
atypical and significant hardship. Sandin v. Conner,
515 U.S. 472, 487 (1995).
however, Plaintiff does not complain of prison conditions at
EMCC, only the lack of a treatment program. Prisoners do not,
however, have a “liberty interest in rehabilitative or
educational programs offered while in prison.”
Walker, 2016 WL 6581870, at *2 citing Zimmerman
v. Tribble, 226 F.3d 568, 571 (7th Cir. 2000). See
also, Long v. Wondra, No. 12-647, 2013 WL 12098999, at
*5 (W.D. Wis. Sept. 16, 2013), aff'd, 553
Fed.Appx. 637 (7th Cir. 2014) (plaintiff's request for
transfer to particular prison to receive treatment denied as
not implicating a liberty interest). This is so, even if
“the successful completion of such a program might
result in early release from custody.” Id.
states a colorable claim, however, that Defendant Flores was
deliberately indifferent to his serious mental health needs
on June 25, 2019, when she refused to see him. This claim
will proceed. Plaintiff's allegations of deliberate
indifference against Defendant Brannon appear based on her
position as the CAO rather than own personal participation in
the alleged violation. Section 1983 limits liability to
public employees “for their own misdeeds, and not for
anyone else's.” Burks v. Raemisch, 555
F.3d 592, 595-96 (7th Cir.2009). Section 1983 liability is
predicated on fault, so to be liable, a defendant must be
“personally responsible for the deprivation of a
constitutional right.” Sanville v. McCaughtry,266 F.3d 724, 740 (7th Cir.2001) (quoting Chavez v. Ill.
State Police,251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir.2001)).
“A defendant will be deemed to have sufficient personal
responsibility if he directed the conduct causing the
constitutional violation, or if it ...