United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Jarrell Wilson, pro se
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. Johnstone United States Magistrate Judge.
Jarrell Wilson, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, seeking release from the C-4
Close Custody Unit (“CCU”) at the Northern New
Hampshire Correctional Facility (“NCF”) and
placement in the general prison population. The matter is
before the court to determine whether the petition is
facially valid and may proceed. See 28 U.S.C. § 2243;
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases
(“§ 2254 Rules”); see also § 2254 Rule
1(b) (authorizing court to apply § 2254 Rules to §
2241 petitions); LR 4.3(d)(4).
claims that the New Hampshire Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) upgraded his security classification
without providing him with the procedural protections the DOC
classification guidelines, handbook, and manuals indicate he
must receive. The exhibits attached to the petition indicate
that on October 25, 2018, Wilson received notice that he was
being transferred to the NCF reception unit, pending his
reclassification, for the “safety and security of the
Institution.” Doc. No. 1-1, at 2. At a reclassification
board proceeding on October 29, 2018, NCF Capt. Smith
explained to Wilson that the “security threat” at
issue involved Wilson's name coming up in the protective
custody (“PC”) applications of other inmates four
times. Doc. No. 1-1, at 12. Capt. Smith and other prison
officials denied Wilson's requests for written evidence
of such other inmates naming Wilson in their PC proceedings.
Wilson was then reclassified to C-4 custody status and
transferred to the CCU on October 29, 2018. Exhibits attached
to the petition indicate that a C-4/CCU placement is not the
most restrictive classification or placement in the prison
system in New Hampshire; disciplinary segregation in the
Special Housing Unit is more restrictive, and such inmates
are classified as C-5. Petitioner asserts, however, that upon
his reclassification and transfer to the CCU, he lost his
kitchen job and became ineligible for the educational
programs that he was enrolled in as a C-3 general population
appealed the reclassification decision within the prison
administrative system. Those appeals were unsuccessful.
transfer and reclassification were scheduled for
reconsideration after six months, ending on or about April
29, 2019. On March 8, 2019, petitioner notified this court
that he had been transferred from NCF to the New Hampshire
State Prison (“NHSP”); petitioner has not filed
any record suggesting that his CCU placement has been
extended at the NHSP.
construed, the petition asserts violations of Wilson's
Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. Wilson claims prison
officials reclassified him and transferred him to the CCU for
six months in October 2018, in violation of his Fourteenth
Amendment right to due process, by failing to provide him
with written evidence regarding the threat that prison
officials have asserted he presents. Petitioner seeks an
order that would transfer him back to the general prison
C-4 reclassification was scheduled for termination or
reconsideration on April 29, 2019, a date that has since
passed. The instant petition would appear to be moot. The
district judge should dismiss Wilson's petition as moot,
to the extent he is no longer confined in the CCU pursuant to
the reclassification decision at issue in the instant
petition. Cf. Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7-8, 18
(1998) (“We are not in the business of pronouncing that
past actions which have no demonstrable continuing effect
were right or wrong.”).
the relief Wilson seeks (release to the prison's general
population) could be granted at this time, the petition would
still be properly dismissed, pursuant to § 2254 Rule 4,
as it plainly appears that Wilson is not entitled to relief
on his due process claims. The procedural protections of the
Due Process Clause are triggered only if there is a
deprivation of a protected interest in life, liberty, or
property. See Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 332
(1976). “A liberty interest may arise from the
Constitution itself, by reason of guarantees implicit in the
word ‘liberty.'” Wilkinson v.
Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 221 (2005) (citations omitted). As
a general principle, inmates do not have a right or protected
interest in any particular institutional classification,
placement, or eligibility for rehabilitative programming.
Riley v. O'Brien, No. 16-11064-LTS, 2016 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 120039, at *17-*18, 2016 WL 8679258, at *6 (D.
Mass. Sept. 6, 2016); see also Moody v. Daggett, 429
U.S. 78, 88 n.9 (1976); Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S.
215, 224-25 (1976) (Due Process Clause does not limit
inter-prison transfer even when the new institution is
substantially less agreeable); Palmigiano v. Mullen,
491 F.2d 978, 980 (1st Cir. 1974) (absent unusual
circumstances, inmates do not have constitutional right to
any particular security classification). The Due Process
Clause itself does not provide a basis for Wilson to ground
any protected liberty interest in challenging his C-4
reclassification and transfer to the CCU.
the prison disciplinary restrictions at issue impose an
“‘atypical and significant hardship on the inmate
in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life,
'” courts may find a protected liberty interest
arising under state prison policies or regulations.
Wilkinson, 545 U.S. at 223 (quoting Sandin v.
Conner,515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995)). Neither the loss of a
prison job, nor the lack of access to educational
programming, nor loss of a favorable security classification,
nor transfer to a more restrictive housing unit for six
months, however, presents an atypical and significant
hardship relative to the ordinary incidents of prison life
upon which a viable claim could be based here. See, e.g.,
Hardaway v. Meyerhoff,734 F.3d 740, 744 (7th Cir. 2013)
(six-month confinement in segregation, without more, was not
atypical and significant hardship); Smith v. King,
No. 4:18CV219-DAS, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14019, at *3, 2019
WL 361132, at *2 (N.D. Miss. Jan. 29, 2019) (six-month loss
of privileges, prison job, and “favorable custody
level” is not atypical and significant hardship);
Waldron v. Gaetz, No. 11-cv-242-JPG-PMF, 2013 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 112965, at *6, 2013 WL 4051703, at *2 (S.D. Ill.
Aug. 12, 2013) (six month segregation with “no
eligibility for a prison job” was not atypical and
significant hardship); see also Hodge v.
Santiesteban, No. 1:19-cv-00341-LJO-SAB (PC), 2019 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 77970, at *16, 2019 WL 2026503, at *6 (E.D. Cal.
May 8, 2019) (recommending dismissal of due process claim, as
allegations of removal from educational course and six months
in administrative segregation did not amount to atypical and
significant hardship); Graham v. Fortier, No.
10-CV-332-JL, 2010 WL 11404450, at *9, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
126814, at *26 (D.N.H. Nov. 15, 2010) (“New Hampshire
law ‘does not give [an inmate] a right to any
particular custody status[, ] and a change in custody status