Wright v. Indiana State Prison
OPINION AND ORDER: Joshua M. Wright is GRANTED to and including 11/27/2017 to file an amended complaint and is CAUTIONED that if he does not respond by the deadline this case will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because the current complaint does not state a claim for which relief can be granted. Signed by Judge Philip P Simon on 10/26/17. (Copy mailed to pro se party). (nal)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
JOSHUA M. WRIGHT,
INDIANA STATE PRISON,
CAUSE NO. 3:17-CV-523 PPS
OPINION AND ORDER
Joshua M. Wright, a pro se prisoner, filed a complaint against the Indiana State
Prison. ECF 1. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I must review a prisoner complaint and
dismiss it if the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. Courts apply the same standard under § 1915A as when deciding a motion under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th
Cir. 2006). To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must state a
claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Bissessur v. Ind. Univ. Bd. of Trs., 581 F.3d
599, 602-03 (7th Cir. 2009). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 603 (internal quotation marks omitted).
Furthermore, “[a] document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se
complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal
quotation marks omitted). To state claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege:
“(1) that defendants deprived him of a federal constitutional right; and (2) that the
defendants acted under color of state law.” Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir.
Joshua Wright is an inmate at the Indiana State Prison (“ISP”). He alleges that he
was housed there in inadequate conditions from the evening of May 20, 2017, through
the morning of May 24, 2017. During this time, he was not permitted to shower, leave
his cell for recreation or use the telephone. Inmates are entitled to adequate food,
clothing, shelter, bedding, hygiene materials, and sanitation. Knight v. Wiseman, 590
F.3d 458, 463 (7th Cir. 2009). But “the Constitution does not mandate comfortable
prisons....” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 349 (1981). Conditions that merely cause
inconveniences and discomfort or make confinement unpleasant do not rise to the level
of Constitutional violations. Adams v. Pate, 445 F.2d 105, 108-09 (7th Cir. 1971).
Rather, conditions of confinement must be severe to support an Eighth Amendment
claim. Morissette v. Peters, 45 F.3d 1119, 1123 (7th Cir. 1995). “[T]he prison officials’ act
or omission must result in the denial of the minimal civilized measure of life’s
necessities.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994) (internal quotation marks
omitted). Wright complains that he was unable to take a daily shower during this short
period of time. However, being denied the opportunity to shower for three-and-a-half
days does not violate the Constitution. Jaros v. Ill. Dep’t of Corrs., 684 F.3d 667, 671 (7th
Cir. 2012) (“limiting inmates to weekly showers does not violate the Eighth
Amendment”). He also complains that he was not allowed to leave his cell for
recreation. Though a total lack of exercise would state a claim where “movement is
denied and muscles are allowed to atrophy,” French v. Owens, 777 F.2d 1250, 1255 (7th
Cir. 1985), the mere denial of “desirable, entertaining diversions . . . [does] not raise a
constitutional issue,” Harris v. Fleming, 839 F.2d 1232, 1236 (7th Cir. 1988). Being denied
recreation time for three-and-a-half days is not so extensive or long lasting to constitute
an Eighth Amendment violation. Finally, he complains that he was not allowed to use
the telephone. He believes that not being allowed to use the telephone for that short
period of time infringed on his First Amendment right to speak, but it did not.
Although prisoners may have a right under the First Amendment to communicate with
others outside of the prison, they do not have an unqualified right to do so. Boriboune v.
Litscher, 91 F. App’x 498, 499 (7th Cir. 2003); see also Arsberry v. Illinois, 244 F.3d 558, 56465 (7th Cir. 2001). Ultimately, though the conditions Wright describes were unpleasant,
he has not alleged facts demonstrating that he was denied the “minimal civilized
measure of life’s necessities.” Indeed, they do not exceed what one would expect from
prison life generally. See Thomas v. Ramos, 130 F.3d 754, 762 (7th Cir. 1997) (noting that
inmates are typically faced with restrictive conditions for short periods of time).
As a final matter, even if Wright would have alleged that he suffered a
constitutional violation, which he has not, he has also not named any responsible
defendant. Though ISP is where these events occurred, it is a building, not a person or
even a policy making unit of government that can be sued pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
See Sow v. Fortville Police Dep’t, 636 F.3d 293, 300 (7th Cir. 2011).
As explained, this complaint does not state a constitutional claim against any
defendant, and it does not appear as though Wright could do so. Nevertheless, Wright
may file an amended complaint if he believes that he can allege facts which do state a
claim. See Luevano v. Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d 1014 (7th Cir. 2013). If he decides to file an
amended complaint, he should get a blank copy of this court’s complaint form from the
law library and write the cause number for this case in the caption on the first page.
(1) Joshua M. Wright is GRANTED to and including November 27, 2017, to file
an amended complaint; and
(2) Joshua M. Wright is CAUTIONED that if he does not respond by the
deadline, this case will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because the current
complaint does not state a claim for which relief can be granted.
ENTERED: October 26, 2017
/s/ Philip P. Simon
United States District Court
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