United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. Underhill, United States District Judge
plaintiff, Steven Dalessio (“Dalessio”), is
incarcerated at the Brooklyn Correctional Institution
(“Brooklyn”). He has filed a civil complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Commissioner of
section 1915A of Title 28 of the United States Code, I must
review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any portion of
the complaint that is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Although detailed allegations
are not required, the complaint must include sufficient facts
to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and
grounds upon which they are based and to demonstrate a
plausible right to relief. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory
allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. Nevertheless, it is well-established that
“[p]ro se complaints ‘must be construed
liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments
that they suggest.’” Sykes v. Bank of
Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting
Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471,
474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater,
623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules
of solicitude for pro se litigants).
states that he has not been convicted of a violent crime or a
crime that was sexual in nature and therefore should not be
classified as a sex offender. See Compl., Doc. No.
1, at ¶ 2, 11. State of Connecticut Judicial Branch
records reflect that on August 29, 2016 in State v.
Dalessio, Case Number HHB-CR15-0062839-T, Dalessio
pleaded guilty to two counts of risk of injury to a child in
violation of Connecticut General Statutes §
53-21(a)(1). On that same date, a judge sentenced him
to eight years of imprisonment execution suspended after
thirty months and followed by five years of probation on the
first count, and seven years of imprisonment execution
suspended after two years and followed by five years of
probation on the second count.
claims that the Department of Correction has assigned him a
violence/severity risk score of 4 and a needs score of 3 and
has classified him as a sex offender. See Compl., at
¶¶ 2, 11. In late July or early August 2017,
Dalessio sought a reclassification review based on new and
relevant information pertaining to his conviction. See
Id. at ¶¶ 1, 6. At some later point, Counselor
Supervisor Santana denied Dalessio’s request for a
reclassification review. See Id. at ¶ 3.
Instead, Counselor Supervisor Santana explained the basis for
Dalessio’s violence/severity risk score and his needs
score. See Id. Dalessio states that he wrote to
counselors, the warden and Commissioner of Correction Scott
Semple, but they have all either failed to respond to his
requests or ignored their own policies and procedures.
See Id. at ¶ 12. For relief, Dalessio seeks
punitive damages and various forms of injunctive relief.
See Id. at ¶¶ 13-21.
of Connecticut Department of Correction Administrative
Directive 9.2 provides that the classification of an inmate
begins within the first two business days of an
inmate’s confinement in a Department of Correction
facility. See Administrative Directive 9.2(9),
entitled Offender Classification, available at:
(effective July 1, 2006). After initial classification, an
inmate’s risk level and needs are reviewed every six
months. See Id. 9.2(10)(A). New information that is
relevant to an inmate’s risk or needs classification
requires a reclassification review. See Id. 9.2(14).
contends that the Department of Correction has improperly
considered police reports, original criminal charges and
information in his presentence investigation report to assign
him a needs score of 3 and to classify him as a sexual
offender. Dalessio claims that the Connecticut Supreme Court
held in Anthony A. v. Commissioner of Correction,
326 Conn. 668 (2017), that Anthony A. had a liberty interest
in not being labeled a sex offender and that the Department
of Correction could not use police reports, original criminal
charges or information in presentence investigation reports
in the classification process upon an inmate’s
confinement pursuant to a state court conviction and
sentence. See Compl., Doc. No. 1, at ¶ 6. Based
on the Connecticut Supreme Court’s holding in
Anthony A., Dalessio believed that the fact that he
had not been convicted for a sexual or violent offense was
the only relevant information to be considered with regard to
his risk/needs scores and classification. Thus, he was
entitled to a reclassification review. The court notes that
the Connecticut Supreme Court decided Anthony A. on
August 29, 2017. See Anthony A., 326 Conn. 668.
claims that he requested a reclassification review in late
July or early August 2017. Counselor Supervisor Santana,
however, denied the request.
are required to exhaust administrative remedies before filing
a federal lawsuit related to prison conditions. See
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) (“No action shall be brought
with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this
title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in
any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such
administrative remedies as are available are
exhausted.”) The exhaustion requirement applies to all
claims regarding “prison life, whether they involve
general circumstances or particular episodes.”
Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516 (2002).
of all available administrative remedies must occur
regardless of whether the administrative procedures provide
the relief that the inmate seeks. See Booth v.
Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001). Furthermore,
prisoners must comply with all procedural rules regarding the
grievance process prior to commencing an action in federal
court. See Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 91 (2006)
(proper exhaustion “means using all steps that the
agency holds out . . . (so that the agency addresses the
issues on the merits) . . . [and] demands compliance with
agency deadlines and other critical procedural rules”).
Thus, completion of the exhaustion process after a federal
action has been filed does not satisfy the exhaustion
requirement. Special circumstances will not relieve an inmate
of his or her obligation to adhere to the exhaustion
requirement. An inmate’s failure to exhaust
administrative remedies is only excusable if the remedies are
in fact unavailable. See Ross v. Blake, __ U.S. __,
136 S. Ct. 1850, 1858 (2016).
to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense.
See Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 216 (2007). A court
may, however, dismiss a complaint for failure to state a
claim where the allegations on the face of the complaint
establish that it is subject to dismissal, even on the basis
of an affirmative defense. See Williams v. Priatno,
829 F.3d 118, 122 (2d Cir. 2016) (“district court still
may dismiss a complaint for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies if it is clear on the face of the complaint that the
plaintiff did not satisfy the PLRA exhaustion
requirement”) (citing Jones, 549 U.S. at 215).
“concludes that he has exhausted all in-house
remedies” regarding his claim that he was entitled to a
reclassification review. Compl., Doc. No. 1, at ¶ 12. He
states that he “will get nowhere filing grievances
in-house.” Id. at ¶ 10. Dalessio,
however, does not allege that he appealed the decision of
Counselor Supervisor Santana to deny his request for a
reclassification review. State of Connecticut Department of
Correction Administrative Directive 9.2 provides that
classification decisions may be appealed to the Unit
Administrator within fifteen days of the date of the
decision. See Administrative Directive
Semple is the only defendant in this action. Although
Dalessio states that he wrote to Commissioner Semple, he does
not indicate how Commissioner Semple was involved in the
decision to deny him a reclassification hearing. As such, he
has not alleged a plausible claim that Commissioner Semple
violated his constitutionally or federally protected rights.