United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
Procedure for Filing Objections
Recommended Disposition ("Recommendation") has been
sent to Judge J. Leon Holmes. You may file written objections
to this Recommendation. If you file objections, they must be
specific and must include the factual or legal basis for your
objection. Your objections must be received in the office of
the Court Clerk within 14 days of the date of this
objections are filed, Judge Holmes can adopt this
Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By
not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal
questions of fact.
Campbell, an Arkansas Department of Correction
("ADC") inmate, filed this civil rights lawsuit
without the help of a lawyer under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
(Docket entry #2) Mr. Campbell alleges that ADC officials
incorrectly computed the days that he was assigned to
punitive isolation. He complains that he was improperly held
in punitive isolation for 35 days, in violation of his eighth
and fourteenth amendment rights. Mr. Campbell seeks
declaratory and monetary relief.
Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") requires
federal courts to screen prisoner complaints seeking relief
against a governmental entity, officer, or employee before
ordering service of process. 28 U.S.C. § l9l5A(a). The
Court must dismiss claims that are legally frivolous or
malicious; that fail to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted; or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who
is immune from paying damages. 28 U.S.C. § l9l5A(b).
Unfortunately for Mr. Campbell, he has failed to state a
Constitution requires that prisoners be housed in a humane
manner, but it "does not mandate comfortable
prisons" or that prisoners be "free of
discomfort." Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337,
349 (1981). Only "extreme deprivations" that deny
"the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities" are serious enough to support an eighth
amendment claim. Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9
(1992). Here, Mr. Campbell has not alleged that he suffered
any extreme deprivation during his assignment to punitive
isolation. Without those serious deprivations, he cannot
proceed on his eighth amendment claim.
his allegations fail to state a claim for denial of due
process. A prisoner has a right to procedural due process
under the Fourteenth Amendment only if he has a liberty
interest at stake. See Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S.
472, 484 (1995); Phillips v. Norris, 320 F.3d 844,
847 (8th Cir. 2003). Under settled law, a prisoner's
liberty interests are limited to freedom from restraint that
"imposes atypical and significant hardship on the inmate
in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life, "
or to actions which "inevitably affect the duration of
[a prisoner's] sentence." Sandin v. Conner,
515 U.S. 472, 487, 115 S.Ct. 2293 (1995). Placement in
punitive isolation or administrative segregation for
relatively short intervals, even if it results in a temporary
suspension of privileges, is not deemed an "atypical and
significant" hardship that triggers the protection of
the due process clause. Portley-El v. Brill, 288
F.3d 1063, 1065-66 (8th Cir. 2002) (holding that thirty days
in punitive segregation was not an atypical and significant
hardship under Sandin). Accordingly, the temporary
changes in Mr. Campbell's conditions of his confinement,
even if improper, do not rise to the level of a
constitutional due process violation.
extent that Mr. Campbell claims that ADC officials improperly
processed his grievances, this allegation fails to state a
federal claim for relief. Under settled law, inmates do not
have a constitutional right to an inmate grievance procedure.
Lomholt v. Holder, 287 F.3d 683, 684 (8th Cir.
2002); and Buckley v. Barlow, 997 F.2d 494, 495 (8th
Cir. 1993). Therefore, a prison official's failure to
properly process or respond to a grievance, standing alone,
is not actionable under § 1983.
Mr. Campbell's allegations concerning the Defendants'
failure to abide by ADC policies and procedures do not state
a federal claim. See Phillips v. Norris, 320 F.3d
844, 847 (8th Cir. 2003); Gardner v. Howard, 109
F.3d 427, 430 (8th Cir. 1997); Kennedy v.
Blankenship, 100 F.3d 640, 643 (8th Cir. 1996).
Campbell's claims should be DISMISSED, with prejudice.
The Court also recommends that Judge Holmes certify that this
dismissal constitutes a "strike" for purposes of 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g) and that an in ...