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Clay v. Sanders

August 22, 2006

CLARENCE CLAY PETITIONER
v.
LINDA SANDERS, WARDEN, FCI FORREST CITY, ARKANSAS RESPONDENT



MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The record reflects that in 1982, petitioner Clarence Clay ("Clay") was diagnosed with some form of mental illness by officials with the United States Army. See Document 1, Attachment 4 at 1. In 1999, he was indicted in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama with several criminal offenses. In 2003, he was sentenced to fifty-six months in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") for conspiracy to distribute marijuana, cocaine base, and cocaine hydrochloride; and for the unlawful use of a communication facility. Upon entering the custody of the BOP, the following occurred:

[BOP] staff initiated the classification process to determine the appropriate level [of] correctional facility to designate ... Clay for service of his federal sentence. ... Clay was given a Custody Classification Score of minimum security with in custody. However, based upon his mental health history, ... Clay was assigned a ... Management Variable.

See Declaration of Daniel R. Severson, Document 4, Attachment 2 at 2. In 2004, Clay was specifically assigned to the custody of respondent Linda Sanders ("Sanders") at the Federal Correctional Complex - Low in Forrest City, Arkansas.

Within one year of Clay's arrival at FCC Forrest City, he began an attempt to have a management variable removed from his prisoner designation.*fn1 He first wrote a Dr. Quick at FCC Forrest City requesting the removal of the management variable; Clay's request was as follows:

I am requesting that the medical hold be removed off of me. There was a medical hold placed on November 29, 2004, we discussed this on July 13, 2005. My understanding is that the hold was only to last for six (6) months when I was designated here on November 29, 2004. I have been here for almost ten (10) months. I have had no problems. This is a formal request to ask for your assistance to remove the hold so that I may be cleared to transfer closer to home. My custody level is zero (0) and that is the lowest it could [possibly] go, yet I am being held inconsistent with my custody level. ...

See Document 1, Exhibit 1 at 1. The record does not contain a response to Clay's request from Dr. Quick or an associate.

Clay then began the BOP grievance process by informally complaining to officials at FCC Forrest City. In his informal request, he requested the following:

To have the medical hold removed by the Psychology Dept. The hold placed on me on November 29, 2004 by the designation dept. My attorney and I were informed that the hold would only last (6) months, as long as I don't violate any of the prison rules or get any shots. I have been here over (10) months and have a custody level of zero (0), the lowest possible score. I am being held inconsistent with my custody level. ...

See Document 1, Exhibit 2 at 1. Officials at FCC Forrest City rejected Clay's request and provided the following reason: "Based on ... Clay's mental health condition, Psychology Services does not consider him appropriate for Camp placement. This condition is unchanging and not likely to result in your Camp placement in the foreseeable future." See Id.*fn2

Clay next formally complained to officials at FCC Forrest City. His formal complaint was substantially similar to his informal complaint. His formal complaint, though, was eventually denied by Sanders; the denial contained the following representations:

This is in response to your Request for Administrative Remedy ... in which you contend your continued placement at FCC Forrest City, Low, is not appropriate.

For relief, you request a "medical hold" be removed by Psychology Services in order to permit your placement at a Minimum Security facility.

A review of your case has revealed you currently suffer a serious form of mental illness. For that reason, Psychology Services considers you a poor candidate for ...


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