The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEALON
Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated in the United States Penitentiary System, filed this civil rights action dated December 8, 1983, alleging violations in the conditions of confinement while incarcerated in the [Special Housing Unit (hereafter S.H.U.)] at the United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The eight defendants in the case include the Warden and various officers at the institution. The complaint alleges that the conditions under which the plaintiff was confined constitute an infliction of cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment and an abridgement of his First Amendment right of freedom of worship. This complaint also includes a request for class certification. By Order dated December 27, 1983, plaintiff was required to file an amended complaint in compliance with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The amended complaint was filed January 16, 1984. Plaintiff has filed a large number of discovery and other pretrial motions. In order to facilitate disposition of this matter, a pretrial conference was held pursuant to Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
During the conference, plaintiff alleged the following constitutional violations existed at the Lewisburg Penitentiary: inadequate heating system, inadequate ventilation, inadequate living space, inadequate lighting and denial of attendance at group worship; in disciplinary segregation specifically the denial of personal property for one week and inadequate clothing; in administrative detention specifically the lack of adequate recreational and educational opportunities, limited telephone and television privileges, inadequate access to entertainment and inadequate access to the general library.
The court will first consider the plaintiff's request for class certification. The plaintiff has the burden of demonstrating that the requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have been satisfied.
The plaintiff has failed to address any of these requirements in his complaint. In addition, in light of the fact that the case will ultimately be dismissed and closed by this Memorandum and Order, the court will deny plaintiff's request for class certification.
The plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claims relate to conditions of confinement in the S.H.U. at Lewisburg. The Eighth Amendment standards for the S.H.U. are the same as those which apply to inmates housed in general population. Prison officials must provide all prisoners with adequate food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, medical care and personal safety. Newman v. State of Alabama, 559 F.2d 283, 291 (5th Cir.1977), cert. denied, 438 U.S. 915, 98 S. Ct. 3144, 57 L. Ed. 2d 1160 (1978). See also Wolfish v. Levi, 573 F.2d 118 (2d Cir.1978). The test to determine whether an inmate is subjected to cruel and unusual punishment is whether the resulting conditions, alone or in combination, deprive the inmate of the minimized civilized measure of life's necessities as measured under contemporary standards of decency. Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 101 S. Ct. 2392, 69 L. Ed. 2d 59 (1981). In considering the totality of the circumstances, the court must examine all of the circumstances that bear on the nature of the shelter provided. Union County Jail Inmates v. Di Buono, 713 F.2d 984, 999 (3d Cir.1983) citing Hoptowit v. Ray, 682 F.2d 1237, 1247 (9th Cir.1982).
Similarly, the operation of the ventilation system was discussed and explained at the pretrial conference. The plaintiff concedes that there are approximately fifty small holes in the cell walls in addition to a window and openings in and around the door which allow for an exchange of air. According to Mr. Swartz, the holes and other openings constitute a "natural" ventilation system, whereby the air passes to the chimney pulling air from other openings in a modified suction motion.
In addition, he asserted the screened box apparatus attached to the window for security purposes does not dissipate the amount of air entering the cell to any great extent. While the S.H.U. may not contain the same ventilation system as exists in general population, it is sufficient for Eighth Amendment purposes. The court has no doubt that humidity and temperatures are high in the hot summer months. This alone, however, or in combination with other conditions existing in the S.H.U., does not offend contemporary standards of decency.
The plaintiff also contends that the amount of light existing in the S.H.U. is inadequate. As the pretrial transcript reveals, there is one bare bulb in each cell, generally 100 to 150 watts. Transcript at 68-69. In addition, the cell ceilings are painted white to allow reflecting light. Plaintiff asserts that while the lighting may be adequate for the inmate on the top bunk it is inadequate for the inmate on the lower bunk. In the S.H.U., since there are generally no chairs provided, as distinguished from general population, the bunks are the only place to sit and read. If the entire cell provided a dark, dungeon type atmosphere, the court might be inclined to agree with the plaintiff's contentions. However, in light of the fact that plaintiff concedes the inmate on the top bunk receives adequate lighting, and the white ceilings would reflect the light throughout the cell, the court finds no constitutional violation present. The Constitution does not mandate comfortable prisons, and prisons which house persons convicted of serious crimes cannot be free from discomfort. Rhodes v. Chapman, supra, 452 U.S. at 349, 101 S. Ct. at 2400. As long as the conditions within the cell meet Eighth Amendment standards, no constitutional violation is present. Therefore, the Court has determined the allegations concerning the physical conditions do not either singly, or in combination, approach constitutional inadequacy.
The plaintiff next contends that the policy of denying S.H.U. inmates participation in group worship contravenes his right to worship as guaranteed by the First Amendment. In Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 545-46, 99 S. Ct. 1861, 1877-78, 60 L. Ed. 2d 447 (1979), the Supreme Court noted that prisoners do not lose all constitutional protection by reason of conviction and confinement. However, prisoners' rights are subject to restrictions and limitations and that "even when an institutional restriction infringes a specific guarantee, such as the First Amendment, the practice must be evaluated in light of the central objective of prison administration, safeguarding prison security." Id. at 547, 99 S. Ct. at 1878 (citing Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners' Labor Union, 433 U.S. 119, 97 S. Ct. 2532, 53 L. Ed. 2d 629 (1977), Pell v. Procunier, 417 U.S. 817, 94 S. Ct. 2800, 41 L. Ed. 2d 495 (1974), and Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396, 94 S. Ct. 1800, 40 L. Ed. 2d 224 (1974). In St. Claire v. Cuyler, 634 F.2d 109, 114 (3d Cir.1980), the court determined that a "reasonable justification" concept for such a prison practice is not appropriate when evaluating a restriction of a constitutional right. It explained " 'reasonableness' imposed too rigid a burden on prison authorities . . . the state needs only to produce evidence that to permit the exercise of first amendment rights would create a potential danger to institutional security."
At the pretrial conference, it was explained plaintiff was initially confined in the S.H.U. pending investigation of a variety of disciplinary charges, including assault on a staff member. The remainder of his time there was in response to conviction on those charges. The court can think of no more serious threat to prison security than an assault on the prison staff. Prison officials must be able to detain prisoners pending investigation of serious charges which threaten the internal stability of the institution. Conditions encountered during detention were a direct response to the increased security threat posed by the inmate awaiting a hearing before the prison's disciplinary committee. The court cannot say that a policy of preventing potentially explosive inmates from mixing with the general population at a group worship service is not a policy without justification.
The court must defer to the expert judgment of the prison officials unless the prisoner proves by "substantial evidence . . . that the officials have exaggerated their response" to security considerations or the officials beliefs are unreasonable. Id. at 115 (citing Pell v. Procunier, 417 U.S. 817, 827, 94 S. Ct. 2800, 2806, 41 L. Ed. 2d 495; Jones, supra, 97 S. Ct. at 2539). The discussion at the pretrial conference demonstrated the propriety of the prison officials' actions and that it was not exaggerated under the circumstances. Accordingly, plaintiff's First Amendment claim will be dismissed.
Additionally, the plaintiff complains that he was required to share his cell with another inmate. The Special Housing Unit at the prison is utilized for the confinement of inmates awaiting disciplinary hearings, inmates actually being punished, inmates there for security reasons and inmates anticipating transfer to another institution. The cell-sharing here was obviously necessitated by the volume of the prisoners confined in the Unit and is "justified by the considerations underlying our penal system." Price v. Johnston, 334 U.S. 266, 68 S. Ct. 1049, 92 L. Ed. 1356 (1948). In Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. at 546, 99 S. Ct. at 1877, Justice Rehnquist emphasized: "Maintaining institutional security and preserving internal order and discipline are essential goals that may require limitation or retraction of retained constitutional rights of both convicted prisoners and pretrial detainees. Central to all other correction goals is the institutional consideration of internal security within the corrections facilities themselves. Pell v. Procunier, supra, [417 U.S. at 823, 94 S. Ct. at 2804]; see Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners Labor Union, supra, [433 U.S. at 129, 97 S. Ct. at 2539]; Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396, 412 [94 S. Ct. 1800, 1811, 40 L. Ed. 2d 224] (1974)."
In Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 101 S. Ct. 2392, 69 L. Ed. 2d 59, the Supreme Court held that, in and of itself, double celling is not unconstitutional. Prisoners spend most of the day in their cells. The amount of living space which is ideal for one inmate is not always attainable in the real world of prison administration. One cannot expect prison officials to anticipate the number of prisoners who will need to be separated from other inmates and still insure that each prisoner receives his own cell. "There must be a mutual accommodation between institutional needs and objectives and the provisions of the Constitution that are of general application." Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556, 94 S. Ct. 2963, 2975, 41 L. Ed. 2d 935.
In the case sub judice, as in Rhodes, the double-celling did not lead to deprivations of medical care, food or sanitation. There was no allegation of increased violence as a result of double-celling. The court has determined the cell in the Unit have adequate heating, ventilation and lighting. Therefore, ...