In this case, while each of the concerns expressed by
plaintiff's complaint are included in the Eighth Amendment's
protections, none are sufficiently serious to constitute a
constitutional violation given their short duration and their
relation to legitimate prison interests.
First, plaintiff has not demonstrated any impropriety in
limiting prisoners in the segregation unit to slippers. See
Def. Ex. B ¶ 2(a) (regulations on clothing); Loe, 604 F. Supp.
at 135 (finding such limitation reasonable because of prisoners'
habit of throwing hard-soled shoes at prison staff). While the
court agrees that forcing prisoners to wear inadequate shoes or
clothing outside in the winter could run afoul of the Eighth
Amendment, Lehigh Prison's policies state that the prisoners are
permitted to engage in indoor recreation in inclement weather.
See id. ¶¶ 4(a), 4(c). As Mr. Williams provides no evidence to
suggest that prisoners are put in the position of either losing
their recreational privileges or having to go outside in improper
clothing, no Eighth Amendment violation is present in the fact
that inmates in disciplinary segregation receive cloth slippers.
Similarly, while Mr. Williams complains about the clothing
received, he does not describe any facts that would lead to the
conclusion that the health of the wearer is endangered. See,
e.g., Young v. Berks County Prison, 940 F. Supp. 121, 123-24
(E.D.Pa. 1996) (noting that there was no Eighth Amendment
violation when inmate's clothing was occasionally dirty or torn
so long as health was not imperilled).
Similarly, there is no violation of the Eighth Amendment in the
temporary restrictions placed on inmate's reading material and
access to the law library. With respect to the library access,
which should more properly be articulated as a First Amendment
access to court claim, there are no "free-standing rights to a
law library or legal assistance"; rather, libraries and other
assistance are simply the means by which prisoners gain their
right of access to the court. Reynolds v. Wagner, 128 F.3d 166,
183 (3d Cir. 1997) (describing holding of Lewis v. Casey,
518 U.S. 343, 351-55, 116 S.Ct. 2174, 135 L.Ed.2d 606 (1996)). To
bring a viable claim, an inmate must show "direct injury" to his
access to court. See id. In this case, Mr. Williams makes no
argument that he was unable to raise a claim he wished to raise
or that his efforts in any pending action were prejudiced because
of his inability to acquire needed materials. Moreover,
plaintiff's own complaint acknowledges the prison regulations
that permitted him to receive legal materials from the library by
filling out a request form, see Def. Ex. B ¶ 23, and there is
no evidence that this system deprived him of needed information.
Mr. Williams other objections can be disposed of quickly.
Although plaintiff complains about the amount of food received,
the defendants have submitted documentation that the food meets
the required caloric and nutritional standards. They have also
submitted a memorandum indicating why inmates in one housing unit
did not receive drinks with meals for some time period and how
appropriate substitutions were determined. See Def. Ex. E, F
(stating that meals met requirements); Def. Ex. G (explaining why
unit received substitutes for drinks at mealtimes). The
complaints about the noise and the failure of guards to tour
regularly must be rejected because of the lack of specificity in
the evidence submitted by Mr. Williams. While excessive noise
might, in some circumstances, violate the Eighth Amendment, Mr.
Williams does not provide any basis for the court to find that
the level of noise was so excessive as to comprise such a
violation. Similarly, Mr. Williams does not articulate any harm
he suffered from the alleged failure of the prison officials to
tour the unit. The regulations indicate that the officers are to
tour at least once every thirty minutes, and he does not provide
any specific claim that this standard was not met or that it is
standard. See Def. Ex. B ¶ 27 (regulations regarding monitoring
Finally, as to plaintiff's complaints regarding limited
showers, shaves, and other restrictions placed on inmates
designated as habitually "aggressive, assaultive, or
destructive," Def. Ex. B ¶ 5(c), there is no basis to believe
that Mr. Williams' health or hygiene suffered from the limited
showers and shaving opportunities. Nor is there any claim that he
was hampered in his exercise. Thus, the court cannot say that an
Eighth Amendment violation occurred based on these regulations.
In short, the court finds there was no Eighth Amendment
violation even though plaintiff's library access was limited and
he was subject to certain other restrictions when placed on
disciplinary segregation. See Loe, 604 F. Supp. at 136 (finding
no Eighth Amendment violation in similar circumstances); Griffin
v. Vaughn, 112 F.3d 703 (3d Cir. 1997) (finding no Eighth
Amendment violation when similar, though not identical,
restrictions were put on inmate placed in administrative
detention for fifteen months). Moreover, plaintiff has not even
attempted to articulate any basis for finding that the
defendants' mental state rose to the level of deliberate
Mr. Williams' allegations do not describe an Eighth Amendment
violation, and this complaint must be dismissed.