United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Neil Hall, Pro Se Plaintiff.
P. Jones United States District Judge
Neil Hall, a Virginia jail inmate proceeding pro se, filed
this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Hall alleges that
the defendant state officials wrongfully deprived him of the
benefits of a rehabilitation program. I conclude that the
action must be summarily dismissed.
states that on February 21, 2018, after a hearing in Roanoke
County Circuit Court, he was sentenced to a total of seven
and a half years in prison. Two and a half years of that
joint sentence was for a conviction in the Circuit Court for
the City of Salem for embezzlement. At the hearing, the
prosecutor allegedly stated that during Hall's pretrial
detention, he had refused to participate in a court- ordered
rehabilitation opportunity - the Alpha Program. Hall denies
that he refused participation in this program.
to Hall, after he was incarcerated on May 3, 2017, he
voluntarily applied to participate in the Alpha Program,
administered by “Blue Ridge Behavioral”
(“BRB”). Compl. 3, ECF No. 1. He later learned
that in June of 2017, his attorney, with the consent of the
prosecution, asked the court to order Hall to complete the
Alpha Program, in order to move Hall up on the program's
waiting list. The court issued such an order on July 21,
2017, but Hall did not receive notice of it.
the sentencing hearing, Hall was returned to the Western
Virginia Regional Jail (“Jail”), where he filed
request forms asking who had reported to the court that Hall
had refused participation in the Alpha Program. Jail
officials denied that Jail staff members are involved in any
way in the Alpha Program. Hall claims, however, that the
Alpha Program is conducted at the Jail, and that when an
inmate can enter the program, the Jail must notify the inmate
of that fact. Hall also contends that once Jail officials
reported to BRB that Hall had refused Alpha Program
participation, BRB policy required its staff to investigate
and document for the court the reason for his refusal. Hall
asserts that no one from BRB ever discussed this matter with
him, in violation of BRB policy.
§ 1983 Complaint sues two Jail officials and a BRB
official for allegedly depriving him of his right to
participate in the Alpha Program as a means of possibly
reducing his term of confinement. As relief, Hall seeks
monetary compensation for each of the two and a half years of
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1), the court may dismiss a
prisoner's civil action concerning prison conditions
“if the court is satisfied that the action is
frivolous, malicious, [or] fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” A viable complaint must allege
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Giarratano v. Johnson,
521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Section
1983 permits an aggrieved party to file a civil action
against a person for actions taken under color of state law
that violated his constitutional rights. See Cooper v.
Sheehan, 735 F.3d 153, 158 (4th Cir. 2013). To survive
the court's screening under § 19979e(c)(1), “a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Complaint, as a whole, fails to state factual matters
sufficient to support any plausible claim against the
defendants he has named. For a viable § 1983 claim,
“a plaintiff must plead that each Government-official
defendant, through the official's own individual
actions” has caused a violation of the plaintiff's
constitutional rights. Id. at 676. Hall does not
describe any action or inaction by the defendants he has
named. His allegations do not indicate how any of these
individuals was personally involved in the events that led to
Hall's inability to participate in the Alpha Program.
Accordingly, his Complaint fails to state any actionable
§ 1983 claim against them.
Hall's allegations do not present an actionable claim
that he had a constitutionally protected right to participate
in the Alpha Program.
[T]he law is well settled that a prisoner has no
constitutional right to participate in an educational or
rehabilitative program. See Moody v. Daggett, 429
U.S. 78, 88 at n. 9 (1976) (due process clause not implicated
by prisoner classification and eligibility for rehabilitative
programs, even where prisoner suffers “grievous
loss”); Bulger v. United States Bureau of
Prisons, 65 F.3d 48, 49 (5th Cir. 1995) (“Prisoner
classification and eligibility for rehabilitation programs. .
. are not directly subject to ‘due process'
protections”) (citing Moody, supra).
Barksdale v. Green, Civil Action No. DKC-15-1109,
2016 WL 4077713, at *11 (D. Md. Aug. 1, 2016). Because Hall
had no constitutional right to a rehabilitative program like
Alpha, he cannot hold anyone liable under § 1983 for
interfering in any ...