United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. Johnstone United States Magistrate Judge.
the court for preliminary review is pro se petitioner
Alexander Otis Matthews's petition for writ of habeas
corpus (Doc. No. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, and
petition addenda (Doc. Nos. 8, 10) asserting facts pertinent
to Matthews's claims. The matter is before the court to
determine whether the petition and addenda state facially
valid claims that may proceed. See Rule 4 of the
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases (“§ 2254
Rules”); see also § 2254 Rule 1(b)
(authorizing court to apply § 2254 Rules to petitions
filed under § 2241).
was an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in
Berlin, New Hampshire (“FCI Berlin”) when he
filed this petition. He notified this court in October 2017
that he has been transferred to a Federal Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”) facility in Pennsylvania. See
Not. (Doc. No. 11).
has described himself as “a frequent filer in federal
courts.” See Pet., Matthews v. Warden, FCI
Berlin, 16-cv-054-LM (“Matthews I”)
(ECF No. 1). As Matthews has proceeded in forma pauperis in a
number of civil cases he has filed, he has incurred a number
of filing fees in those matters which must be paid in full,
by deductions from his inmate account, pursuant to the in
forma pauperis provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b).
the Supreme Court's decision in Bruce v.
Samuels, 136 S.Ct. 627 (2016), the BOP implemented the
provisions of § 1915(b)(2) by withdrawing all but $10.00
of Matthews's available funds each month to pay his
federal court filing fees. See Pet., Matthews
I, (ECF No. 1); see also Doc. No. 10, at 3.
follows a modified meatless diet that he alleges he cannot
satisfy with the regular meals provided by BOP. While in
prison, he has eaten rice, beans, and mackerel that he
purchases from the commissary. He states that two types of
non-meat substitutes have been available in the FCI Berlin
cafeteria: cottage cheese and soy patties. Matthews asserts
that he cannot eat cottage cheese because of a digestive
condition, and that the soy patties are expired and too hard
to eat. He further claims that at some meals at FCI Berlin,
the kitchen staff has not prepared any non-meat substitute.
Because of a low balance in his inmate account, Matthews
asserts he was unable to buy food he wanted from the
commissary at FCI Berlin, so he missed meals or parts of
meals six or seven times per week.
further states that the lack of funds in his inmate account
made it difficult at FCI Berlin to pay for stamps, email,
phone calls, typing ribbon, and copies he needed to maintain
his state and federal court cases and to communicate with his
family. He asserts that FCI Berlin Camp Counselor S. Seymour
told Matthews that Matthews was not considered to be an
indigent inmate since his own conduct in filing cases
resulted in his lack of available funds, and that even if he
had been deemed indigent, he would receive only five free
stamps per month for personal mail and five per month for
Matthews's initial filings here (Doc. Nos. 1, 8, 10)
liberally, and in light of matters alleged in the petition in
Matthews I (ECF No. 1), the court identifies
Matthews's claims as follows:
1. The PLRA, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2), as implemented in
his case, violates Matthews's First and Fifth Amendment
right of access to the courts, as the BOP's depletion of
his inmate account precludes Matthews from filing new cases
and maintaining cases he has filed.
2. The PLRA, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2), as implemented in
his case, violates Matthews's First Amendment rights to
family association, as the BOP's depletion of his inmate
account precludes Matthews from making phone calls, sending
letters, and maintaining email contact, at a level sufficient
to maintain more than de minimis contact with his family.
3. The PLRA, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2), as implemented in
his case, violates Matthews's Eighth Amendment rights, as
the BOP's depletion of his inmate account precludes
Matthews from purchasing hygiene items and food from the
requests the following relief: (1) an order declaring 28
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2) to be unconstitutional and directing
Congress to amend it; and (2) an injunction restraining the
BOP from making any further withdrawals from ...