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Pinkton v. Jenkins

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division

July 18, 2018

ADAM LEE PINKTON PLAINTIFF
v.
WARDEN LEPHER JENKINS CONTRACT MONITOR BARBARA JAMES MARSHALL COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY BERNICE BROWN DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          JANE M. VIRDEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner complaint of Adam Lee Pinkton, who challenges the conditions of his confinement under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the purposes of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the court notes that the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed this suit. The plaintiff has brought the instant case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides a federal cause of action against “[e]very person” who under color of state authority causes the “deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws.” 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff alleges that: (1) the defendants interfered with his use of the grievance process; (2) the general conditions of his confinement were unconstitutionally harsh; (3) the defendants denied other inmates adequate medical care; (4) the defendants awarded educational certificates to other inmates, who did not earn them; (5) the defendants did not hold a fire drill in his unit for over a year; (6) the defendants denied him access to the court, and (7) Warden Lepher Jenkins retaliated against him for seeking redress for grievances.

         Factual Allegations

         Improper Handling of Grievances

         All of Mr. Pinkton's claims involve his incarceration at the Marshall County Correctional Facility. At various times, Lt. Collins does not process inmates' grievances, including Mr. Pinkton's. Pinkton alleges that Warden Lepher Jenkins and Contract Monitor Barbara James have failed to properly supervise Collins. He states that he has raised some or all of the issues listed above through the grievance process, but the grievances have been either ignored or mishandled. He argues that an officer's statement, without accompanying physical evidence, should not be enough to find inmates guilty of rule infractions. Mr. Pinkton pursued the grievance process as to at least some of his claims. Some of those grievances were rejected because “Relief is beyond the power of the Mississippi Department of Corrections to grant.” In these grievances, he requested that various MCCF or MDOC officials be terminated.

         Denial of Access to the Courts

         One of the grievances that Mr. Pinkton filed involved the failure Ms. Brown, director of the Inmate Legal Assistance Program, to provide him with case law and mail service so that he could send documents to the Mississippi Parole Board in support of his petition for parole. Ms. Brown did not send the documents, and the Parole Board denied his request.

         General Conditions of Confinement:

         Inadequate staffing levels:

         Most of Mr. Pinkton's claims arise out of this allegation: contraband in the facility, inability to properly monitor inmates, moldy showers, unsanitary kitchen, inadequate exercise, and leaks from the ceiling. In a second amended complaint [13], Mr. Pinkton describes an episode that occurred after the filing of his original complaint during which guards put inmates in danger of attack by gang members. There was no incident, but when he and another inmate complained about it, the guards cuffed him, locked him in the shower area for two hours, and said, “I'll kill you. Yo u don't run shit. Warden Jenkins told us to lock you up in the shower.”

         Contraband Present in the Facility:

         Mr. Pinkton makes the general observation that a great deal of contraband makes its way into the facility. To support this claim, Mr. Pinkton provided a copy of a bulletin for the inmates stating that the facility will go into lockdown to address the problem of excessive contraband.

         Moldy Showers:

         Mr. Pinkton complained about mold in the showers, and, in response to his complaint, the staff member stated that the prison provides inmates cleaning supplies three times per week, and it's up to the inmates to use them. Mr. Pinkton testified at his Spears hearing that he cleans the shower “every day”. He uses the germicidal heavy-duty cleaner provided by prison staff, but neither his cleaning efforts nor those of others have removed the dark substance he believes to be mold. Not even a pressure washer could remove the substance from the shower grout.

         Excessively Hot Conditions:

         This is a general complaint regarding the use of fans, rather than air conditioning, at the Marshall County Correctional Facility in summertime, which have exacerbated his hypertension and caused him to become dizzy.

         Unsanitary Kitchen Conditions:

         Again, Mr. Pinkton alleges that the styrofoam containers holding inmates' meals sometimes have rodent droppings on them. He also alleges that the food is cold by the time it reaches the inmates. Mr. Pinkton stated that he has never seen a case where an inmate found rodent droppings in his food, and he, himself, has suffered no harm from the unsanitary conditions.

         Inadequate ...


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