WESTEFER v. SNYDER
725 F.Supp.2d 735 (2010)
United States District Court, S.D. Illinois.
July 20, 2010.
Id. § 504.80(f). If the Adjustment Committee is satisfied that the inmate committed the offense with which he or she is charged, the Adjustment Committee may recommend discipline, including placing the inmate in segregation status. See id. § 504.80(k)(4)(H). The Adjustment Committee may also recommend that the inmate be transferred to another correctional facility. See id. § 504.80(k)(4)(E). The regulations impose no limitation concerning the other prisons to which an inmate may be transferred as punishment for a disciplinary infraction. See id. The recommendation of the Adjustment Committee is subject to review by the Chief Administrative Officer (that is, the Warden) of the prison where the inmate is housed or, in appropriate cases, by the Director of the IDOC. See id. § 504.80(p).
The Court finds unpersuasive Defendants' argument that the Adjustment Committee hearing provided for under IDOC regulations as outlined above is adequate to protect the due process liberty interest in avoiding confinement at Tamms of inmates assigned to the supermax prison in disciplinary segregation. No inmate who testified in this case stated that he was advised at an Adjustment Committee hearing that he was being considered for placement at Tamms. In fact the testimony in this case was quite uniform that inmates transferred to Tamms in disciplinary segregation were not informed at their Adjustment Committee hearings that part of their punishment for a disciplinary infraction might be assignment to Tamms. See, e.g., Doc. 433 (Bell Testimony) at 26; Id. (Rosario Testimony) at 52; Doc. 482 (Testimony of Eugene Horton) at 16-17; Id. (Testimony of Vincente Rodriguez) at 19; Doc. 507 (Combs Testimony) at 7; Doc. 514 (Guthrie Testimony) at 17. Moreover, several prisoners testified to lengthy temporal gaps between the time they were placed at Tamms in disciplinary segregation and the offenses that caused them to be so placed. For example, Brian Nelson testified that he was placed in disciplinary segregation at Tamms over an incident that occurred perhaps as much as two years earlier than his arrival at the supermax prison. See Doc. 433 (Nelson Testimony) at 7. Similarly, Tamms inmate Johnny Almodovar testified that he was transferred to the supermax prison in disciplinary segregation on the basis of disciplinary charges that had been leveled at him during a previous term of incarceration that was separate from the term Almodovar currently is serving. See id. 4. Placement at Tamms in Administrative Detention
(Almodovar Testimony) at 67-68. In sum, nothing in the record supports the inference that the Adjustment Committee hearing granted to IDOC inmates charged with disciplinary infractions adequately protects the liberty interest of such inmates in avoiding confinement at Tamms, and the Court concludes that it does not.
The Court considers next the matter of whether, for inmates assigned to Tamms in administrative detention status, the framework of periodic transfer review hearings to evaluate the propriety of placement at Tamms in administrative detention that is provided under current IDOC regulations adequately protects the liberty interest of administrative detention inmates in avoiding placement at Tamms. Under existing IDOC regulations, inmates transferred to Tamms in administrative detention status are entitled to a transfer review hearing within ten working days of their transfer, when possible; additionally, inmates assigned to Tamms in administrative detention receive an annual transfer review hearing. See Ill. Admin. Code tit. 20, § 505.60(a); Id. § 505.70(b); Deposition of Odie Washington at 90. Also, the files of inmates transferred to Tamms in administrative detention are reviewed quarterly to determine whether placement at the prison is still appropriate. See Ill. Admin. Code tit. 20, § 505.70(a). The evidence of record compels the conclusion that under existing IDOC regulations, inmates placed at Tamms in administrative detention do not receive adequate constitutional process.
The principal constitutional flaw in the existing transfer review hearing procedure provided to IDOC inmates assigned to Tamms in administrative detention status is the IDOC's failure to give such inmates advance notice of their transfer review hearing and the reason the inmates have been transferred to Tamms. Defendants admit that IDOC inmates do not receive notice of the reason why they have been transferred to Tamms. See Doc. 175 (Response to Request for Admissions) at 5-6 ¶ 12. Similarly, IDOC's Rule 30(b)(6) designee Ruane Tanner conceded that before 2005 IDOC inmates did not receive written notice in advance of their transfer review hearing. See Tanner Deposition at 29-30. Moreover, IDOC regulations do not provide that an inmate must be given notice in advance of the transfer review hearing as to the reason he is being sent to Tamms. See Washington Deposition at 91. Although inmates may make a statement and present documents at their transfer review hearing, Defendant Washington, a former IDOC Director, conceded that he does not know how an inmate could raise a meaningful challenge to his placement at Tamms or present relevant information at a transfer review hearing without knowing the reason for his placement at Tamms:
Q. I'm asking you how they [inmates] are supposed to know what statements would be relevant [at a transfer review hearing] if they are not told why they were sent there [Tamms]?
A. I can't answer that.