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WILLIAMS v. LEHIGH DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS

November 22, 1999

ANTHONY M. WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LEHIGH DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Katz, Senior District Judge.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Before the court is defendants' motion for summary judgment. Because plaintiff has failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact on any of his claims regarding unconstitutional conditions of confinement, the court will grant the motion.

I. Background and Allegations

Plaintiff Anthony Williams' pro se complaint alleges unconstitutional conditions of confinement in the administrative segregation and disciplinary segregation units at Lehigh County Prison. Named defendants are the Lehigh County Department of Corrections, Warden Edward Sweeney, and Director Richard Klotz. Although plaintiff designated this complaint as a class action, the court denied a motion seeking class certification. See Order of September 9, 1998.

According to the documents submitted by the defendants, disciplinary segregation was "established to house inmates who have violated one or more institutional rules, to correct their behavior and to deter a future recurrence." See Def. Ex. B. Inmates in disciplinary segregation have more significant restrictions on their actions than do general population prisoners. In contrast, administrative segregation was established "to ensure the safety of inmates so-classified," staff, and other inmates and "shall not be punitive in nature." See Def. Ex. C.*fn1 Inmates in administrative segregation are to be provided "generally equal living conditions and privileges of the general population except their freedom of movement" or where security issues warrant otherwise. Id. Mr. Williams was never on administrative segregation, but he spent a great deal of time in disciplinary segregation for a variety of different infractions of prison regulations. See Def. Ex. A. Mr. Williams is no longer housed at the Lehigh County Prison — as of October 8, 1998, he was transferred to SCI Graterford. See Def. Ex. A ¶ 14 (Aff. of Edward Sweeney).

Mr. Williams asserts that the following seven aspects of the segregated units violated the Eighth Amendment:

  1. Placement on disciplinary segregation limits
    direct access to the prison law library; inmates
    must fill out a request form to acquire legal
    materials.
  2. Disciplinary segregation inmates receive
    inadequate clothing and footwear for winter
    weather.
  3. The food provided to inmates in disciplinary and
    administrative segregation is inadequate.
  4. The housing of mentally ill inmates with other
    inmates in disciplinary segregation creates an
    unacceptably high level of noise.
  5. The guards tour the disciplinary segregation unit
    infrequently, creating safety risks and making it
    difficult for inmates to receive medical
    assistance.
  6. Disciplinary segregation inmates are deprived of
    mental stimulation because they are barred from
    having any reading material except religious books.
  7. Disciplinary segregation inmates who are
    designated as aggressive are restricted to only two
    showers a week and two shaves a week and are forced
    to ...

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