For analytical purposes, I will separate plaintiff's complaint into two periods of time. The first will include all claims up to and through the May 1979 escape, while the second will cover all allegations following plaintiff's return to prison in June 1980.
A. PRE-ESCAPE CLAIMS
Plaintiff's allegations of damages prior to his second escape are identical to those raised in his first suit in this court, except that injunctive relief is no longer requested. I dismissed that first suit with prejudice under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b) while plaintiff was an escaped prisoner at large. Such a dismissal operates as an adjudication on the merits under the Rule. Plaintiff's current action is thus barred by the doctrine of res judicata.
I will therefore deem plaintiff to have moved to reopen the earlier judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). Under Rule 60(b)(6), the court may order relief from a judgment for "any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment." The original action was properly closed when plaintiff escaped and thereby sacrificed the opportunity to prosecute his claim. Plaintiff clearly chose to pursue his own illegal remedy rather than await judicial resolution of his suit, and such self-help in the form of escape is indefensible. United States v. Haley, 417 F.2d 625, 626 (4th Cir. 1969). This rule controls regardless of aggravating conditions at the prison. United States v. Powell, 601 F.2d 583 (4th Cir. 1979). Although "an escape does not strip the case of its character as an adjudicable case or controversy, we believe it disentitles the defendant to call upon the resources of the Court for determination of his claims." Molinaro v. New Jersey, 396 U.S. 365, 90 S. Ct. 498, 24 L. Ed. 2d 586 (1970); cf. Estelle v. Dorrough, 420 U.S. 534, 95 S. Ct. 1173, 43 L. Ed. 2d 377, reh. denied, 421 U.S. 921, 95 S. Ct. 1589, 43 L. Ed. 2d 790 (1975) (escaped prisoner can lose right to appeal). In short, the interests of justice do not favor reopening this matter, and thus I will not grant plaintiff relief from the earlier judgment.
B. POST-ESCAPE CLAIMS
Plaintiff also demands monetary damages for a continuing deprivation of his alleged constitutional right to work release under the state court work release sentence.
Plaintiff's claim for damages after his first escape may have had merit originally, but he now has waived any right to money damages resulting from denial of work release by choosing to escape for thirteen months.
This second escape provided ample justification to the defendants for removing plaintiff from the work release program.
Even if plaintiff's interest in work release does reach the level of a constitutionally protected liberty interest,
that right cannot be absolute. The applicable Pennsylvania law recognizes that prison officials will need to regulate the conduct of prisoners on work release, and specifically provides for removal from the program for violation of these rules. 61 Pa.Con.Stat.Ann. § 1053. It would transcend the bounds of reasonableness to declare that every plaintiff so sentenced has a continuing right to work release, despite repeated escapes for prolonged periods of time. The federal courts have recognized that prison officials are given broad discretion, and will intervene only when the abuse of that discretion is arbitrary and severe. Cf. United States ex rel. Williams v. Cuyler, 447 F. Supp. 540, 542 (E.D.Pa.1977) (suit by a state prisoner under § 1983 to be put on home furlough). Therefore plaintiff has no right to monetary damages for the period following his second escape.
For the reasons stated herein, plaintiff's claims for monetary damages both before and after his second escape will be dismissed.