The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS I. VANASKIE
Plaintiff Richard Young, a pretrial detainee in custody at the Lackawanna County Prison, but formerly incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas-Pennsylvania ("SCI-Dallas"), filed the above-captioned civil rights action on February 19, 1993. This Memorandum and accompanying Order address defendants' motion to dismiss (Dkt. Entry # 7). For the reasons stated below, the defendants' motion to dismiss will be granted.
Young's suit, which he filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, complains about his treatment while housed as a pretrial detainee at SCI-Dallas between March 10, 1992 and July 15, 1992. (See "Complaint Civil Rights" (Dkt. Entry # 1; hereafter "Compl.") at 1.)
The defendants include the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (the "DOC"), the Commissioner of Corrections, Joseph Lehman, and the following SCI-Dallas officials: John R. Stepanik, Superintendent; David H. Larkins, Deputy Superintendent for Operations; Paul F. Crisler, Deputy Superintendent for Operations; Robert Pikulski, Counselor; and Stanley Gabriel, Major of the Guard. Young requests "monetary relief of $ 25,000 as a result of the defendants' actions . . . ." (Compl. at 6.)
In March, 1992, the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County ordered that Young, who was a pretrial detainee being held at the Lackawanna County Prison on murder charges, be transferred to SCI-Dallas because, as the court explained, "incarcerated at the Lackawanna County Prison [were] several potential witnesses against" Young and the "potential for witness intimidation and tampering" existed. (Stepanik Decl. at Ex. "II.") The form employed by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Correction, entitled "Transmittal Of Data For County Prison Transfer" accompanying Young's transfer to SCI-Dallas, indicated that no bail amount was set in connection with his murder charges. It also indicated that two detainers were filed against him, which involved, inter alia, arson and criminal mischief, for which each had bail set at $ 200,000. (Stepanik Decl. at Ex. "II.")
Upon Young's transfer, SCI-Dallas officials prepared a "Notification of Confinement," in which Young was advised:
You were received at SCI-Dallas as a [sic] untried/unsentenced county detentioner (Lackawanna Co.). You are being placed in the Restricted Unit until you are seen by the Program Review Committee. [Stepanik Decl. at Ex. "II."]
The next day, March 11, 1992, SCI-Dallas officials held an Administrative Custody Hearing concerning Young's confinement in a restricted housing unit, after which the officials recorded:
[Young is] an HVA from Lackawanna County who is a potential escape risk. Absconded from Public defender's office on prior charge.
SCI-Dallas records indicate that on March 12, 1992, two days after his transfer to SCI-Dallas, Young undertook a "hunger strike" and began to refuse eating his meals. (Stepanik Decl. at Ex. "VI.") Young consequently was confined to a psychiatric observation room between March 13 and March 23, 1992. (Stepanik Decl. at P 37 and Ex. "VI.")
On April 14, 1992, SCI-Dallas administrative officer George A. Matthews memorialized the following conversation in a memorandum he addressed "To Record:"
On April 14, 1992, Trooper Jerry DeFazio, Pennsylvania State Police, Dunmore, arrived at SCI-Dallas [and] substantially stated Young should be treated as an extreme security risk in that Young may attempt to get a medical emergency to a local hospital. He will then use it to fake a fall and file a lawsuit or make an escape attempt. It was told to me that his attorney was arrested for blocking a doorway while he made his getaway being a fugitive for eight (8) years. [Stepanik Decl. at Ex. "VIII."]
Because Young was housed in administrative custody, Pennsylvania Bureau of Corrections procedures provided that he was entitled to have his housing status reviewed, and to be personally interviewed as part of the review, every thirty (30) days by a Program Review Committee ("PRC"). (Stepanik Decl. at Ex. "I," pg. 4.) A progress review was conducted on April 9, 1992. The PRC issued, in substantial part, the following report:
Young requested visiting privileges in the Visiting Room based on the fact that he needs the time to sit with his lawyers in an unhandcuffed fashion and of not being a threat to other people who were possible witnesses in the county. Young now states that witnesses he was to be separated from are no longer being potential witness and that those cases have been dropped. PRC advised him they would, in fact, contact the Lackawanna officials to find out more about this situation. PRC also has the understanding that he may have been a potential escape risk to which Young claimed he had never been convicted of any similar charges, and that information we have is wrong. He requested a telephone call and discussed this with Mr. Kaminski. Mr. Rusnak, Records Office Supervisor, will be contacted to find out the specifics in Young's case. If, in fact, the inmates we are separating him from are no longer at Lackawanna Prison or that the potential for problems there no longer exists, the Records Officer should try to get him transferred him [sic] back to that institution. He was agreeable to this. [Stepanik Decl. at Ex. "V."]
Young refused to attend his next PRC review. The May 14, 1992 PRC review report, in pertinent part, stated:
Young was scheduled for his 30 day review on this date before the PRC. Young refused to attend. By way of this communication, Young is strongly encouraged to attend his next regularly scheduled review. . . . He is being continued in the RHU as he is considered a potential escape risk because of his past history. It is also noted that he is being held for Lackawanna County Prison as a HVA. He will continue on that status until he is returned to the county or returned to other authorities. [Stepanik Decl. at Ex. "V."]
The June 11, 1992 PRC review report, in pertinent part, stated:
There was a significant discussion about his status and his inability to obtain legal material. It is this reporter's opinion that he can obtain legal material upon request. Due to his status in the RHU it is improbable to provide physical access to the Law Library. [Stepanik Decl. at Ex. "V."]
Finally, the July 9, 1992 PRC review report, in pertinent part, stated:
[Young] presented the PRC with a list of . . . requests. . . . 1) He requested to be placed in general population. Young is considered a serious escape risk and this request is denied. 2) He requested to be allowed to meet with his attorney without handcuffs. This is a security precaution that is required in this status and this request is denied. PRC fails to see how reviewing paperwork cannot be accomplished with handcuffs. 3) He asked for the opportunity to make phone calls. PRC indicates that the majority of his phone calls are being made preclude having an inmate pay for the call. They must be collect calls. 4) He indicates that books are in the Mailroom for him. PRC directs that certain books will be reviewed by his counselor and the required number will be permitted pursuant to RHU regulations. 5) He asked for an inmate manual. This will be provided. 6) He asked to go to the Law Library. There is a RHU procedure whereby he can request information from the Law Library. [Stepanik Decl. at Ex. "V."]
Young complains of a number of aspects of his confinement at SCI-Dallas. For example, he complains that the defendants refused to release him into the general prison population. (Compl. at PP 4 and 5.)
He alleges that the defendants required him to "meet with counsel in handcuff's [sic]," which purportedly hampered his ability to review documents and make "notes in the presence of his legal counsel." (Compl. at P 31.) Moreover, Young alleges that he "was allowed fewer visits with family than prisoners in general population," and that he "had to visit family with handcuffs on and that condition is not placed on prisoners who are convicted but in general population." (Compl. at PP 31 and 34.) Young alleges that his legal mail "was opened and inspected and censored before given to" him. (Compl. at PP 19 and 20.) He alleges that he was refused "free copies of legal documents that the plaintiff requested to be copied and needed to have copied, for court filing in his criminal case." (Compl. at P 12.)
Other claims of Young include:
- that the defendants refused to allow his attorney "into the prison to see the plaintiff" (Compl. at P 32)
- that he was denied physical access to the prison library and that he was not offered a "para legal" assistant (Compl. at PP 10 and 11)
- that he had "no private access to a telephone for legal phone calls as all calls were made from the . . . gate door to the plaintiff's cell [so that] other inmates and guards [had] the opportunity to listen to the plaintiff's conversations" (Compl. at P ...