406 F.Supp. 318 (M.D.Ala. 1976), Civ. A. 74-203, Pugh v. Locke

Docket NºCiv. A. 74-203
Citation406 F.Supp. 318
Party NamePugh v. Locke
Case DateJanuary 13, 1976
CourtUnited States District Courts, 11th Circuit, Middle District of Alabama

Page 318

406 F.Supp. 318 (M.D.Ala. 1976)

Jerry Lee PUGH, for himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,

v.

Judson C. LOCKE, Jr., individually and in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Alabama Board of Corrections, et al., Defendants.

WILCOX COUNTY COMMISSION, as the governing body of the County of Wilcox, State of Alabama, and all other counties similarly situated, and Association of County Commissions of Alabama, a voluntary association, Intervening Ancillary Plaintiffs,

v.

Melba Till ALLEN, individually and as State Treasurer, State of Alabama, et al., Ancillary Defendants, Ira DeMent, United States Attorney, Amicus Curiae.

Worley JAMES et al., Plaintiffs,

v.

George C. WALLACE, individually and in his official capacity as Governor of Alabama, et al., Defendants.

WILCOX COUNTY COMMISSION, as the governing body of the County of Wilcox, State of Alabama, and all other counties similarly situated, and Association of County Commissions of Alabama, a voluntary association, Intervening Ancillary Plaintiffs,

v.

Melba Till ALLEN, individually and as State Treasurer, State of Alabama, et al., Ancillary Defendants, The National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc., and Ira DeMent, United States Attorney, Amici Curiae.

Civ. A. Nos. 74-203-N, 74-57-N.

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division.

Jan. 13, 1976

Page 319

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Robert D. Segall, Hobbs, Copeland, Franco & Screws and Joseph J. Levin, Jr., Montgomery, Ala., for plaintiffs Pugh.

William J. Baxley, Atty. Gen., Larry R. Newman, Asst. Atty. Gen., State of Ala., and Robert S. Lamar, Jr., Special Asst. Atty. Gen., Ball, Ball, Matthews & Lamar, Montgomery, Ala., for defendants and ancillary defendants.

James W. Webb, Montgomery, Ala., for intervening ancillary plaintiffs.

Ira DeMent, U. S. Atty., and Kenneth E. Vines, Asst. U. S. Atty., M. D. Ala., Montgomery, Ala., for amicus curiae.

George Peach Taylor, University, Ala., for plaintiffs James et al.

Matthew L. Myers and Alvin J. Bronstein, Washington, D. C., and Ralph I. Knowles, Jr., University, Ala., for amicus The National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JOHNSON, Chief Judge.

In these consolidated class actions, 1 plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivation of their Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. This Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 2201 and 2202. This Court, as authorized by Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, incorporates in this memorandum opinion the appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law.

The Court finds that these actions are maintainable as class actions under Federal Rule 23(a) and (b)(2). The class is composed of all persons presently confined by the Alabama Board of Corrections or who may be so confined in the future. The Court finds that the class is so numerous that joinder is impracticable; that the questions of law and fact presented by the named plaintiffs are common to the class, as are the claims presented by the class representatives; and that the competent representation provided the named plaintiffs will adequately protect the interests of the class as a whole. The Court further finds that the defendants in both cases have acted and refused to act on grounds applicable to the class, for which both declaratory and injunctive relief are appropriate. The defendants, sued in their individual and official capacities, are the Governor of Alabama, the Commissioner of the Alabama Board of Corrections, 2 the Deputy Commissioner of the Alabama Board of Corrections, the members of the Board of Corrections, the Warden of Kilby Corrections Facility, 3 and the Warden of G.K. Fountain Correctional Center. The predecessors in office of these defendants, who were sued in their individual and official capacities, are retained as individual defendants. The Court has also had the able assistance of United States Attorney Ira DeMent and the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project, as amici curiae.

The complaint in Pugh v. Locke was originally filed by an inmate of G. K. Fountain Correctional Center on February 26, 1974. The amended complaint was filed by court-appointed counsel on April 16, 1974, seeking declaratory, injunctive

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and monetary relief for the alleged failure of defendants to adequately protect the plaintiff class from violence on the part of other inmates. The complaint was filed on behalf of a class composed of all inmates of the state penal system who have been or may be confined to G.K. Fountain Correctional Center and who have been, are, or may be subjected to such violence. At the request of plaintiffs, the claims for monetary damages were severed by order of June 27, 1975. The action proceeded on the claims for declaratory and injunctive relief.

The original complaint in James v. Wallace was filed on June 21, 1974. An amended complaint was filed thereafter on July 29, 1974, by court-appointed counsel. That complaint, on behalf of all inmates incarcerated in state penal institutions, essentially alleges that defendants fail to provide adequate rehabilitation opportunities for inmates, maintain conditions in these institutions which make rehabilitation impossible, and provide the opportunities that do exist in an unequal manner-- all in violation of plaintiffs' Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

After extensive pretrial discovery by parties and amici curiae, the cases were heard beginning August 20, 1975, in a trial that lasted seven days. Because many facts were stipulated, the evidence at the trial consisted largely of expert testimony. The cases are now submitted on evidence offered at trial, depositions, exhibits, photographs, briefs and over 1,000 stipulated facts. The trial concluded with the admission by defendants' lead counsel, in open court, that the evidence conclusively established aggravated and existing violations of plaintiffs' Eighth Amendment rights.

The Alabama Board of Corrections (hereinafter the Board) is charged with the responsibility for managing the state's penal institutions. 4 The Board currently operates four large institutions for male inmates-- Holman Unit Prison, G.K. Fountain Correctional Center, Draper Correctional Center, and Kilby Corrections Facility. Kilby also contains the hospital facility for all state prisoners and the classification center for male inmates. The Board also maintains Julia Tutwiler Prison for women and the Frank Lee Youth Center for young men. 5 Additionally, there are six road camps, one pre-release center, and eight work-release centers. Currently the inmate population of these institutions is in excess of 5,000.

The four principal institutions are horrendously overcrowded. At the time of the trial of these cases the prison population in these four institutions was as follows:

Maximum Number for Which Designed Number in Custody
Fountain 632 Over 1100
Holman 540 Over 750
Draper 632 Over 1000
Kilby 503 Over 700

The overcrowded condition of these institutions is the subject of another class action, McCray v. Sullivan, 399 F.Supp. 271 (S.D.Ala.1975). Following the close of evidence in the instant cases, a joint interim order was entered by this Court and the McCray court, enjoining the defendants from accepting any new prisoners, except escapees and parole violators, into these four institutions until the population in each is reduced to design capacity. 6 The purpose of that emergency order was to prevent aggravation of the conditions created by the grave Eighth Amendment violations. The effects of severe overcrowding are heightened by the dormitory living arrangements Page 323 which prevail in these institutions. Bunks often are packed together so closely that there is no walking space between them. Sanitation and security are impossible to maintain. There was testimony that the quarantine population at Kilby 7 is so crowded that inmates have to sleep on mattresses spread on floors in hallways and next to urinals. As will be noted, overcrowding is primarily responsible for and exacerbates all the other ills of Alabama's penal system. The dilapidation of the physical facilities contributes to extremely unsanitary living conditions. Testimony demonstrated that windows are broken and unscreened, creating a serious problem with mosquitoes and flies. Old and filthy cotton mattresses lead to the spread of contagious diseases and body lice. Nearly all inmates' living quarters are inadequately heated and ventilated. The electrical systems are totally inadequate, exposed wiring poses a constant danger to the inmates, and insufficient lighting results in eye strain and fatigue. In general, Alabama's penal institutions are filthy. There was repeated testimony at trial that they are overrun with roaches, flies, mosquitoes, and other vermin. A public health expert testified that he found roaches in all stages of development-- a certain indicator of filthy conditions. This gross infestation is due in part to inadequate maintenance and housekeeping procedures, and in part to the physical structure of the buildings themselves. For example, floors in many shower rooms are so porous that it is impossible to keep them clean. Plumbing facilities are in an exceptional state of disrepair. In one area at Draper, housing well over 200 men, there is one functioning toilet. Many toilets will not flush and are overflowing. Some showers cannot be turned off and continually drip or even pour water. Frequently there is no hot running water for substantial periods of time. Witnesses repeatedly commented on the overpowering odor emanating from these facilities. Personal hygiene is an insurmountable problem in these...

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