United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
WILLIAM E. DUFFIN U.S. Magistrate Judge.
Jeffrey Scott, who is representing himself, filed a complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging that his civil
rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Waupun
Correctional Institution (Waupun). The court screened
Scott's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C §1915A(a) and
allowed him to proceed with his claims that the defendants
violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel
and unusual punishment when they conducted a strip search
without any penological justification.
March 11, 2016, the defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment. That motion was fully briefed on April 28, 2016. On
June 15, 2016, the court ordered the defendants to supplement
their summary judgment materials to address specific
questions posed by the court. The defendants did so on July
5, 2016. Although the court gave Scott the opportunity to
respond to the defendants' additional materials, he has
not done so. For the reasons explained below, the court
grants the defendants' motion and dismisses this lawsuit.
facts are primarily taken from “Defendants' Reply
to Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Proposed
Findings of Fact.” (ECF No. 68.) Additional facts are
taken from Defendants' Supplemental Proposed Findings of
Fact. (ECF No. 71.) The facts are undisputed unless noted
relevant times Scott was confined at Waupun. (ECF No. 68
¶1.) Defendants Joseph Beahm and Jeffrey Gill are
employed by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) as
correctional officers at Waupun. (Id. at ¶3-4.)
Defendant Jessie Schneider is employed by the DOC as a
supervising officer 1 (lieutenant) at Waupun. (Id.
at ¶5.) And defendant Gabriel Umentum is employed by the
DOC as a correctional sergeant at Waupun. (Id. at
November 11, 2013, Beahm was conducting a standard wellness
check (i.e., count) of lower B-Range, where Scott was housed.
(Id. at ¶32.) During such checks staff members
are required to view an inmate's skin and movement.
(Id.) Although prison procedures allow an inmate to
rest or sleep with something over his eyes, his mouth and the
lower part of his face must be visible to security staff.
Beahm arrived at Scott's cell he was unable to see
Scott's skin because blankets were covering his entire
body. (Id. at ¶33.) According to Beahm, he
knocked numerous times on Scott's door and yelled loudly
at Scott to make some type of movement but received no
response. (Id. at ¶34.) Beahm notified Umentum,
who was able to get a response from Scott about five minutes
later. (Id. at ¶35.)
decided to write a conduct report and fill out a restriction
form to place Scott on a linen restriction based on
Scott's refusal to obey Beahm's orders to uncover and
show movement. (ECF No. 71 ¶97, 101.) According to
Beahm, inmates are placed on restrictions based on the items
they misuse. (Id.) Because Scott abused his linen by
completely covering himself and thwarting Beahm's attempt
to confirm his well-being, Beahn recommended that Scott's
use of linen be restricted (i.e., he would be restricted to
one blanket and one washcloth). (ECF No. 68 ¶37; ECF No.
argues that Beahm did not have authority to place him on such
a restriction. (ECF No. 68 ¶36.) This appears to be
true; however, Beahm explains that, when a restriction form
is submitted, it goes into effect immediately while a
security supervisor and the security director decide whether
to approve it. (Id.) If the security supervisor or
the security director do not approve the recommended
restriction, the inmate is removed from the restriction.
result of being placed on the linen restriction, Schneider
and other staff went to Scott's cell to retrieve his
linen. (Id.) Scott refused numerous directives to
hand his linen to jail staff. (Id.) Schneider states
that, because Scott had been uncooperative several times that
morning, Schneider decided to order a strip search to make
sure that Scott did not have any contraband. (Id. at
¶41; ECF No. 71 ¶109.) According to Schneider, if
an inmate is uncooperative, it is usually for a reason. (ECF
No. 68 ¶42.) Thus, when an inmate exhibits behavior
indicating that he may be hiding contraband, such as refusing
to uncover himself or refusing to hand out his linen, a
supervisor will order that the inmate be strip searched. (ECF
No. 71 ¶108.)
extraction team was eventually assembled to remove Scott from
his cell; however, a correctional officer (who is
not named as a defendant) was able to get Scott to
agree to come out of his cell voluntarily and go to the strip
cell. (ECF No. 68 at ¶39.) Once at the strip cell, Scott
refused to comply with a voluntary strip search, so Schneider
directed Gill to perform a staff-assisted strip search.
(Id. at ¶39, 42.)
a strip search is performed as follows: correctional staff
direct the inmate to remove all clothing and hand it over to
the searching staff member. (Id. at ¶19.) Once
the inmate is naked, the staff member visually inspects the
inmate's entire body, including hair, ears, mouth, nose,
hands, armpits, groin area, between toes, bottoms of feet,
inner portions of the legs, and rectum. (Id.) The
staff member then inspects the inmate's clothing and
personal articles and returns them to the inmate.
inmate displays non-compliant behavior immediately prior to a
strip search, staff conduct a staff-assisted strip search.
(Id. at ¶22.) In a staff-asssited strip search,
the inmate is restrained and two officers maintain hands-on
control of the inmate by holding on to his arms.
(Id.) A third staff member cuts off the inmate's
clothing and inspects the clothes for contraband.
(Id.) The staff member then visually inspects the
inmate's body. (Id.) Because the inmate is
restrained, the staff member conducting the search needs to
physically touch the inmate with gloved hands. (Id.)
Two bladed or straightened fingers are used to lift the
inmate's testicles, and the backs of both bladed hands
are used to separate the inmate's buttocks.
(Id.) Contact with the inmate's testicles and
buttocks is very brief, lasting just a second. (Id.)
A staff-assisted strip search has to be approved by a
supervisor, who must be present during the search.
(Id. at ¶23.)
to Scott, all four defendants were present during the search.
(Id. at ¶43, 45, 46.) Gill's search of
Scott yielded no contraband, and Scott was escorted back to
his cell without further incident. (Id. at ¶39,
December 2013 Scott wrote to the Waupun Health Services
Department and alleged that he was sexually assaulted by a
staff member during a strip search. (Id. at
¶80.) In the course of investigating Scott's claim,
he was interviewed and described his interaction with Gill:
Q: . . . was there any . . .
A: . . . he said, he said, he was like I'm fittin' to
use the back of my hands to spread your cheeks. And he spread
my cheeks. Then he went around to the front and he was like,
I'm fittin' to use the back of my hands to lift your
nuts and that's what he did.
Q: So he said he was going to use the back of his hands and
did he use the back of his hands when ...