United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Brown is a prisoner in the custody of the Connecticut
Department of Correction (“DOC”). He has filed a
complaint pro se and in forma pauperis
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendants
improperly placed him in restrictive housing in violation of
his constitutional rights. For the reasons stated below, I
will dismiss Brown's complaint.
was confined at the Corrigan Correctional Center at the time
of the events alleged in the complaint. His complaint names
the following defendants: Corrigan Correctional Center Warden
Faucher, District Administrator Edward Maldonado, and
Lieutenants Cronin and Conjer. Doc. #1 at 2 (¶¶
following facts are alleged in the complaint and are accepted
as true only for purposes of this ruling. The DOC has
classified Brown as a seriously mentally ill inmate.
Ibid. (¶ 7). He has been diagnosed with
post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality
disorder, and anti-social personality disorder.
Ibid. (¶ 8). He also suffers from suicidal
ideations. Ibid. (¶ 9).
August 17, 2017, at approximately 8:15 a.m., Counselor Crane,
the grievance coordinator, entered Brown's housing unit
to collect the grievances from the designated boxes.
Ibid. (¶ 11). Crane found an anonymous inmate
request form with the following written message: “I
should just knock you out you dumb white hoe.”
Id. at 4 (¶ 11), 17. Crane interpreted the
message as threatening in nature and reported it to the unit
manager, Lieutenant Cronin. Id. at 4 (¶¶
receiving the inmate request form, Cronin launched an
investigation to determine who wrote the message and placed
the form in the grievance box. Doc. #1 at 4 (¶ 12).
After reviewing the video surveillance system, Cronin
determined that Brown's cellmate, Armand Beiaj, had gone
to their cell, at which point Brown had passed him the form
through the door crack. Id. at 4 (¶¶
13-14), 18. Afterward, Beiaj walked directly to the grievance
box and dropped the form inside. Id. at 18. The
original inmate request and DVD with the surveillance footage
were both stored as evidence in a facility safe. Id.
at 4 (¶ 14), 18.
result of the investigation, Beiaj was issued a Class A
disciplinary report for accessory to commit assault on a DOC
employee and placed in a restrictive housing unit
(“RHU”) on administrative detention status. Doc.
#1 at 5 (¶ 15), 18. Although he was not issued a
disciplinary report for the threatening message, Brown was
also placed in segregation on administrative detention status
pending the outcome of the investigation. Id. at 5
(¶¶ 15-18). Brown contends that the video
surveillance footage does not show him passing anything to
Beiaj-and that if it had, he would have also received a
disciplinary ticket for acting as an accessory alongside
Beiaj. Id. (¶ 19). Thus, he claims that his
placement in segregation was done in retaliation for his
numerous lawsuits filed against Corrigan personnel.
Id. at 6 (¶ 21).
was placed in a solitary confinement unit with no windows or
clocks. Ibid. (¶ 22). He was forced to eat all
his meals in his cell and was deprived of personal property,
phone calls, and contact visits. Ibid. The
conditions exacerbated his pre-existing mental health
problems. Ibid. (¶ 23). Brown remained in the
RHU for more than one month. Ibid. (¶ 22).
While confined there, Brown sought to preserve the camera
footage and other evidence from the August 17 incident via
inmate request form. Id. at 7 (¶ 24), 23.
later learned that Cronin did not have the authority to place
him in segregation because, pursuant to DOC regulations, such
a decision may only come from a shift commander, the warden,
the deputy warden, or the director of offender
classification. Id. at 7 (¶ 27), 25. Brown
filed a request on August 31, 2017, challenging Cronin's
decision to place him in segregation. Id. at 8
(¶ 28), 26. After confirming that it was Cronin who
ordered the placement, Brown filed a grievance against him
for placing him in segregation without a hearing or an
explanation of the reasons for his placement. Id. at
8 (¶ 29), 27. Brown also contended that Cronin did not
have the authority to order his placement in segregation.
Id. at 27. The grievance was denied on September 27
on the ground that Brown's placement in segregation on
administrative detention status was authorized under DOC
Administrative Directive 9.4 § 3(B). Ibid. That
provision defines “Administrative Detention” as
“[p]lacement of an inmate in a [RHU] that results in
segregation of the inmate . . . [f]or investigation of an
allegation or information involving the inmate in the
commission of a crime, or of activities jeopardizing the
security of the facility or the safety of staff or inmates
that could result in placement on punitive or administrative
segregation or transfer to high security.” Id.
at 30. Brown appealed the denial of the grievance to District
Administrator Maldonado. Id. at 8 (¶ 30), 28.
Maldonado denied the appeal, reasoning that Brown's
administrative detention status was authorized pursuant to
Administrative Directive 9.4, § 3(B). Id. at
August 30, 2017, Lieutenant Conjer placed Brown on
consecutive administrative detention status “pending a
custody review for a staff profile.” Doc. #1 at 10
(¶¶ 39-40), 31. Like Cronin, Conjer does not have
the authority to order administrative detention. Id.
at 10 (¶ 40). Once again, Brown filed an inmate request
challenging Conjer's decision. Id. at 11
(¶¶ 42-43), 32. Conjer responded that the order was
authorized under Administrative Directive 9.4 § 9(A).
Id. at 32. That provision provides:
In order to protect the inmate or others, the Unit
Administrator or designee may order an inmate's placement
on restrictive housing status, Administrative Detention or
Transfer Detention by completing CN 9401, [RHU] Status Order,
stating the specific reasons for placement. Copies shall be
distributed as designated on CN 9401, [RHU] Status Order. The
Unit Administrator shall receive the original copy of the
order within 24 hours or the following business day after
placement. The Unit Administrator shall see that the required
reviews are performed and documented on CN 9401, [RHU] Status
Id. at 47. Brown then filed grievances challenging
the second administrative detention order, which Warden
Faucher denied. Id. at 11 (¶ 44), 36. Faucher
stated that one of the grievances was duplicative of the
first grievance and that custody review was an investigation
which authorized administrative detention. Id. at 11
(¶ 44), 36, 46.
appealed Faucher's decision to District Administrator
Maldonado. Doc. #1 at 11 (¶ 46), 33, 37, 42. Among the
arguments he raised on appeal, Brown contended that he was
unlawfully kept in the RHU for 29 days when Administrative
Directive 9.4 (Attachment B) authorizes administrative
detention for only 14 days. Id. at 11 (¶ 45),
34, 45. Maldonado denied the appeal on the ground that