Corrections Law
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Exercise & Recreation

     Monthly Law Journal Article: Prisoner Exercise and Civil Liability, 2008 (7) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.

     Two inmates kept in administrative segregation for approximately eleven months claimed that they were prohibited from exercising outdoors, and instead brought to a recreation room five days a week. They argued that the ward and director of the state department of corrections thereby violated their Eighth Amendment rights. A federal appeals court ruled that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. Even if the purported ban on outdoor exercise were found to violate the Eighth Amendment, it was not clearly established that an eleven-month ban on such exercise was unlawful. Apodaca v. Raemisch, #15-1454, 2017 U.S. App. Lexis 13390 (10th Cir.).

    A prisoner claimed that he was deprived of outdoor exercise for two years and one month. A federal appeals court ruled that two senior prison officials sued for this alleged deprivation were entitled to qualified immunity. The court assumed, for the sake of argument, that such a deprivation violated the Eighth Amendment, but found that the right involved was not clearly established. Lowe v. Raemisch, #16-1300, 2017 U.S. App. Lexis 13392 (10th Cir.).

    A prisoner adequately alleged a pattern of repeated prison-wide lockdowns for flimsy or no reasons at all. His grievance only listen two specific lockdowns, but mentioned 14 others and claimed that they were the result of a conspiracy among union employee and prison officials to artificially create a staff shortage and negotiate a pay raise. He adequately exhausted administrative remedies. In a less than three year period, the facility was locked down for 534 days, or more than 50% of the time. While none of the lockdowns were longer than 90 days, they could violate applicable norms if imposed for some "utterly trivial" infraction, such as isolated fights, rumors of potential fights, or no reason. He also stated a viable claim for unlawful deprivation of exercise when he asserted that it caused him serious medical conditions and injuries. Eighth Amendment claims for overcrowding, lack of hygiene and medical care, small cells, and overcrowding had all been the subject of prior lawsuits against the facility, similar to conditions described by the plaintiff, and these claims were also viable. Turley v. Rednour, #11-1491, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 13571 (7th Cir.).
     A Colorado prisoner in solitary confinement complained about the lack of outdoor exercise. He was locked in his cell 23 hours a day. He and other solitary confinement prisoners receive five one-hour exercise sessions in an exercise room per week. A federal judge ruled that this lack of outdoor exercise was cruel and unusual punishment and a "serious deprivation of a human need." Anderson v. State of Colorado Dept. of Corrections, 1:10-cv-01005, 2012 U.S. Dist. Lexis 120309 (D. Colo.).
     Prison officials who ordered a lockdown following a prison riot, which resulted in the prisoner suffering the loss of the opportunity to outdoor exercise, were entitled to qualified immunity. In 2002, the time of the events at issue, it was not clearly established that the declaration of an emergency, the ordering of the lockdown, or the denial of the use of the exercise yard was unlawful under the circumstances. Noble v. Cuevas, #09-17251, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 5259 (9th Cir.).
     An Illinois prisoner claimed that prison officials violated his Eighth Amendment rights by sanctioning him to 90 days of yard restriction after finding him guilty of violating prison rules, denying him outdoor exercise. He was disciplined for improperly hiding a milk carton in his jumpsuit during yard time. Inmates in the prison had sometimes used such cartons to contain urine or feces, which they would throw. He claimed that the denial of outdoor exercise was detrimental to his health, and denied him a "basic human right," while not challenging the determination that he broke prison rules. Rejecting this claim, the appeals court found that the denial of yard time for 90 days did not amount to a constitutional violation, particularly as the prisoner did not claim that his rule violation was trivial "or that the punishment was disproportionate to his violation." Rasho v. Walker, #09-1803, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 18963 (Unpub.7th Cir.).
    A federal appeals court ordered further proceedings on a prisoner's claim that correctional officials denied him his constitutional right of access to the courts by preventing him from using the law library during a limited time he had to appeal his criminal conviction, as well as by failing to provide him with any other means of legal research assistance. He further claimed that they then forced him to choose between his constitutional right to exercise and his constitutional right to access to the courts by only allowing him to leave his cell two hours a day, four days a week, for an eight month period, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. During those hours, he could either exercise or use the law library. The court found that these allegations, if true, could indeed have violated the prisoner's rights. Hebbe v. Pliler, #07-17265, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 15660 (9th Cir.).
     A prisoner argued that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated when he was denied outdoor exercise for 13 months and 25 days while in a maximum-security housing unit. A federal appeals court reversed summary judgment for the defendant officials, finding that the serious risk to the prisoner's health from the alleged deprivation would have been "obvious" to the officials, and there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the defendants' actions were reasonable in light of the plaintiff's "limited" disciplinary record, and the security conditions in the facility for the last eleven months that the prisoner was deprived of outdoor exercise. Thomas v. Ponder, #09-15522, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 14592 (9th Cir.).
     A jury awarded a prisoner nominal and punitive damages on his claim that prison officials denied him outdoor exercise during four separate extended lockdowns that took place after violent incidents involving prisoners attacking staff members. Overturning this result, a federal appeals court ruled that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity since they had "substantial" reasons for imposing the lockdowns, which were effective at preventing violence, and their determination that there was a greater risk of harm from allowing outdoor exercise than from denying it was reasonable, given the recent violence. Norwood v. Vance, #07-17322, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 730 (9th Cir.).
     Prisoner injured when two bolts holding an exercise machine in place broke, flinging him backwards, failed to show that his injuries were a violation of his Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment. The prisoner himself was not prevented from examining the equipment to discover what he now claimed was an apparent defect. Gradual deterioration of such equipment in a voluntary prison exercise facility was insufficient to amount to cruel and unusual punishment. Fitzgerald v. Corrections Corporation of America, #08-cv-01189, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 20259 (D. Colo.).
     Prisoner failed to present a viable due process claim concerning his initial placement in administrative segregation when he admitted that he was provided with notice of the facts on which his placement there was based, as well as an opportunity to be heard. The prisoner also failed to present a viable claim as to whether the periodic reviews of his continued placement there were adequate, or concerning the adequacy of lighting in his cell, the adequacy of the exercise provided to him, or the adequacy of the calories provided. A claim concerning his medical care was also rejected. Hampton v. Ryan, No. 06-17388, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 16770 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
     New Jersey prison officials complied with the requirements of state regulations by providing recreation time to the plaintiff inmate which was consistent with safety and security concerns, the physical facilities available, custodial considerations, and the general operation of the facility. Rejecting the prisoner's civil rights claim that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated when he allegedly received only two hours of recreation time a month for exercise and fresh air, the court noted that the prisoner was serving time in administrative segregation for a disciplinary infraction during the period in question, and that prison officials showed that they made efforts to make changes in schedules to increase the outdoor recreation time provided to prisoners. The defendants' actions did not amount to deliberate indifference. Barkley v. Ricci, No. 07-2760, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 37563 (D.N.J.).
       Under the circumstances of a prisoner's confinement, depriving him of outdoor exercise did not violate his clearly established rights. Additionally, prison employees who deprived him of such outdoor exercise were entitled to qualified immunity. The prisoner could have changed his circumstances, the court noted, by simply agreeing to comply with the prison's work program policy. Moore v. LaMarque, No. 06-15724, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 16163 (9th Cir.).
     Prisoner who allegedly was denied outdoor exercise for over nine months failed to show that warden acted with deliberate indifference to his rights when evidence showed that the restrictions on such exercise were imposed mainly for the purpose of preventing a reoccurrence of racial violence which had previously occurred. Additionally, there was evidence that every time the warden tried to relax restrictions on outdoor exercise, more violent incidents occurred. Hayes v. Garcia, No. 04-2112, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 80279 (S.D. Cal.). [N/R]
     Denial of outdoor exercise to a prisoner for thirty-five weeks did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment when it was not done as a result of deliberate indifference to his rights and was not motivated by a malicious intent to harm him. Evidence showed, instead, that the action was motivated by the intent to protect staff and inmate safety and security during a period of racial violence at the facility which included the murder of an inmate. Jones v. Garcia, No. CIV. 03CV2441, 430 F. Supp. 2d 1095 (S.D. Cal. 2006). [N/R]
     Prisoner who was held in administrative segregation for three years at three different Colorado prisons asserted several non-frivolous claims, including for unlawful retaliation against him for complaining about his segregation, complete denial of outdoor exercise, and denial of access to "church fellowship," and the prison law library. Fogle v. Colorado Dep't of Corr., No. 05-1405, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 2024 (10th Cir.).[2006 JB Mar]
     Prison's denial of inmate's request for access to weight training facilities did not violate his Eighth Amendment rights in the absence of any showing that the official making the denial knew that such weight training was allegedly necessary to treat the prisoner's femoral neuropathy and other leg ailments. Reimann v. Frank, No. 05-C-501, 397 F. Supp. 2d 1059 (W.D. Wis. 2005). [N/R]
     When the plaintiff prisoner showed that he had exhausted available administrative remedies as to some claims in his lawsuit, but not as to others, the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e, did not require the dismissal of his lawsuit in its entirety. Prisoner stated an arguable due process claim by alleging that he was not given any outside exercise for a period of time and was prevented from showering for weeks during his disciplinary confinement in a special housing unit when the only evidence supporting the discipline was an accusation from a confidential informant that he had been selling drugs. Ortiz v. McBride, No. 02-0088, 380 F.3d 649 (2nd Cir. 2004). [N/R]
     Federal appeals court rejects prisoner's claim that he was forced, during a modified lockdown following a prison riot, to choose between his constitutional right to regular outdoor exercise and his constitutional right of access to the courts. Evidence showed that, during the period in question, he had participated in between two to six hours of outdoor exercise per week, as well as managing to use the law library for a period of time sufficient to amend his complaint in one lawsuit, and to successfully file the lawsuit making the immediate claim. This showed that neither right was actually denied. Knight v. Castellaw, No. 03-16870, 99 Fed. Appx. 790 (9th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
     Correctional officials denial of prisoner's access to yard exercise and telephone access for approximately one month when he was classified as having refused a job assignment was not a violation of his rights. After prisoner pursued the proper avenues to get himself classified as medically unable to work, his access to yard exercise and telephone access was restored. Ziegler v. Martin, No. 01-2677, 47 Fed. Appx. 336 (6th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
     Further proceedings were required to determine factually whether plaintiff prisoner was actually deprived of meaningful exercise opportunities for twenty eight days while under a restraint order following his verbal harassment of a correctional officer. Issues included whether the handcuffs and waist chain restraints kept on him prevented him from "meaningfully exercising" in an exercise area, and whether he had any meaningful opportunity for in-cell exercise, as well as the question of whether prison officials' actions were justified under the circumstances. Williams v. Goord, 142 F. Supp. 2d 416 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). [N/R]
     297:131 Complete denial of all out-of-cell exercise to prisoner confined in "phone booth" size cell during 6 month prison lockdown could be an Eighth Amendment violation when prisoner posed no special security risk; defendant prison guards and warden were not entitled to qualified immunity. Delaney v. DeTella, No. 00-4145, 256 F.3d 679 (7th Cir. 2001).
     293:70 Denial of yard privileges for outdoor exercise for an entire year, imposed in four 90-day periods because of major disciplinary infractions, did not violate prisoner's rights; appeals court overturns $30,000 award against prison superintendent. Pearson v. Ramos, No. 98- 4110, 237 F.3d 881 (7th Cir. 2001). 293:70 Illinois prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity on denial of outdoor exercise to prisoner for a six-month period during lockdown when there was no showing that this prisoner posed any "particularized security risk." Delaney v. Detella, 123 F. Supp. 2d 429 (N.D. Ill. 2000).
     272:116 Federal appeals court reinstates HIV- positive prisoner's lawsuit complaining of nine months of denial of outdoor exercise and prison's requirement that he wear a face mask whenever leaving his cell; such restrictions might constitute due process or Eighth Amendment violations; failure to provide him with particular medication he wanted, however, did not show deliberate indifference when he was receiving other treatment. Perkins v. Kansas Dept. of Corrections, #98-3005, 165 F.3d 803 (10th Cir. 1999).
     272;118 Denying two prisoners all outdoor exercise for periods of time did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment when it was done in response to misconduct such as assault on another prisoner, murder of a correctional officer, possession of contraband, and an escape attempt from the exercise yard. Bass v. Perrin, #96-3428, 170 F.3d 1312 (11th Cir. 1999).
     259:99 Limiting prisoner's exercise while he was in "keeplock" status for a month did not violate 8th Amendment; parameters of right to exercise were not clearly established in 1981-83. Davidson v. Coughlin, 968 F.Supp. 121 (S.D.N.Y. 1997).
     261:133 Prisoner's inability, for 70 days in administrative segregation, to engage in yard exercise did not violate his clearly established rights; prisoner was able to engage in some exercise in cell and all prisoners were denied yard exercise for 30 day period during lockdown. Thomas v. Ramos, 130 F.3d 754 (7th Cir. 1997).
     236:116 Update: Federal appeals court finds no clearly established law barring prison officials from revealing an inmate's positive HIV- status to prison employees and other inmates' qualified immunity, however, did not extend to allegations that prison officials "punished" HIV- positive prisoner by preventing him from getting a haircut or exercising in the prison yard. Anderson v. Romero, 72 F.3d 518 (7th Cir. 1995).
     230:19 Prisoner's loss of yard exercise privileges because of a series of disciplinary infractions did not violate his constitutional rights. McGuinness v. Dubois, 893 F.Supp. 2 (D. Mass. 1995).
     224:118 Federal appeals court rules that prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity for failing to provide prisoner placed in special housing unit for disciplinary reasons with more than 45 minutes of outdoor exercise a week during a six-week period. Allen v. Sakai, 40 F.3d 1001 (9th Cir. 1994). » Editor's Note: See Housley v. C.D. Dodson, 41 F.3d 597 (10th Cir. 1994) for a decision ruling that a county jail inmate's claim that he was allowed only 30 minutes of out-of-cell exercise during a three-month period was sufficient to state a federal civil rights claim against jail officials based on the cruel and unusual punishment prohibition of the Eighth Amendment.
     224:118 Prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity from liability for restricting exercise for prisoner in punitive segregation, federal appeals court rules; constitutionality of using exercise restriction as a punitive measure for prisoner misconduct was not clearly established as of 1991. Rodgers v. Jabe, 43 F.3d 1082 (6th Cir. 1995).
     Illinois inmate had no clearly established constitutional right to more than one hour of exercise or more than one shower per week.
     Henderson v. Lane, 979 F.2d 466 (7th Cir. 1992).
     Texas inmate's constitutional rights were not violated by alleged denial, for a single day, of out-of-cell exercise and shower. Thomas v. Allsip, 836 S.W.2d 825 (Tex. App. 1992).
     Deprivation of out-of-cell exercise for extended period of time could be cruel and unusual punishment unless exceptional circumstances based on prisoner's alleged repeatedly assaultive behavior was shown. Mitchell v. Rice, 954 F.2d 187 (4th Cir. 1992).
     It was not safe and practical to provide a prisoner in restrictive housing unit with two hours of indoor exercise on inclement days. Shoats v. Owen, 563 A.2d 963 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1989).
     Co. could not be compelled to construct new jail to increase outdoor recreation opportunities; Sheriff must transport prisoners each day for outdoor recreation. New York State Commission of Correction v. Ruffo, 530 N.Y.S.2d 469 (Supp. 1988).
     Inmate could sue prison for disbanding boxing program for allegedly racial motives. Moore v. Clarke, 821 F.2d 518 (8th Cir. 1987).
     Detainees entitled to active recreation; health screening procedures set forth. Powlowski v. Wullich, 479 N.Y.S.2d 89 (App. 1984).
     Protective custody inmates entitled to eight hours a week outdoor exercise. Adams v. Wolff, 624 F.Supp. 1036 (D. Nev. 1985).
     Claim of loss of exercise and assault by guard did not amount ot constitutional violation for purposes of Section 1983. Nelson v. Herdzik, 559 F.Supp. 27 (W.D. N.Y. 1983).
     Inmate's claim that prison regulation entitled him to one hour of daily exercise regardless of his status allowed to proceed. Sinclair v. Smith, 468 N.Y.S.2d 749 (App. 1983).
     Federal court rules that North Carolina county knew of unconstitutional conditions in regard to lack of exercise at county jail but failed to take remedial action. Parnell v. Waldrep, 538 F.Supp. 1203 (W.D. N.C. 1982).
     Federal appeals court reverses lower court's order concerning exercise privileges for inmates; orders case consolidated with prior class action suit. Goff v. Menke, 672 F.2d 702 (8th Cir. 1982).
     Pennsylvania court rules that statute requiring two hours daily exercise is mandatory and not directory; allows inmates to bring writ of mandamus to enforce compliance. Inmates of B-Block v. Marks, 434 A.2d 211 (Pa. App. 1981).
     Presence of day-room at Virginia jail found to meet minimum constitutional exercise requirements. Clay v. Miller, 626 F.2d 345 (4th Cir. 1980).

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