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GAWREYS v. D. C. GEN. HOSP.

November 30, 1979

Stanley GAWREYS, Plaintiff,
v.
D. C. GENERAL HOSPITAL et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBINSON

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court are Cross Motions for Partial Summary Judgment in an action brought by Stanley Gawreys against D.C. General Hospital (DCGH), Et al. Plaintiff is requesting relief and damages arising from alleged violations of his Fifth Amendment and Eight Amendment Constitutional rights. Jurisdiction is premised upon 28 U.S.C. ยง 1331.

 The undisputed facts (for the purpose of partial summary judgment) may be summarized as follows:

 Plaintiff was arrested on October 21, 1977. Two days later he was taken to DCGH, complaining of illness. Gawreys was diagnosed as suffering from acute endocarditis, a high temperature, and diarrhea. When admitted to DCGH, Plaintiff was put in "deadlock," a patient's personal room that locked from the outside. After Plaintiff verbally threatened the nursing staff and tampered with his intravenous device, he was restrained to his bed with metal handcuffs and leg irons. Plaintiff remained confined in deadlock and so restrained for between four and five days. Normally, prisoner-patients are kept unrestrained in the "lockward," a large ward capable of holding 16 patients that locks from the outside. Prisoner-patients are normally subjected to deadlock or restraints if such action is either medically necessary or essential for the protection of patients or hospital employees.

 The only relevant written indicia of policy regarding the use of restraints states that

 
Medical restraints (cloth or leather) may be ordered by the inmate patient's physician provided the order is renewed every twenty-four (24) hours. A log of all inmate patients restrained for medical reasons will be maintained by the officer on duty. Restraints required for the movement of inmate patients from one area to another will be governed by Department of Corrections regulations. If in the interest of security Department of Corrections personnel require an inmate patient to be restrained to his bed, the key to said restraints will be in the possession of the correctional officer at the patient's bedside for use in a medical emergency. *fn1"
 
There is no written statement indicating policy regarding the use of deadlock.
 
It is clear that a valid criminal conviction constitutionally deprives an individual of liberty. *fn2" While a convicted criminal retains at least a modicum of his Due Process liberty interest, *fn3" "the State may confine him and subject him to the rules of the prison system so long as the conditions of confinement do not otherwise violate the Constitution." *fn4" Pretrial detainees are also constitutionally deprived of their liberty interest, so long as the State's treatment of the detainee does not reflect an intent to punish. *fn5" If there is a "legitimate nonpunitive governmental objective" *fn6" underlying the Government's treatment of the pretrial detainee, the treatment is constitutional. The Government's objectives must be scrutinized in view of the two sources of a prisoner's Due Process rights, state law *fn7" and the Eighth Amendment. *fn8"
 
It is clear that if state law creates a liberty interest, the state may not arbitrarily withdraw that interest. *fn9" The procedures for withdrawing a state created liberty interest may be delineated in the law itself; if no procedures are outlined, the Due Process clause may require a hearing or other appropriate measures. *fn10"
 
The Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment requires that "the Government . . . provide medical care for those whom it is punishing by incarceration." *fn11" It also proscribes penalties that "transgress today's broad and ideal concepts of dignity . . . humanity and decency." *fn12" It is clear that pretrial detainees are entitled to "at least those constitutional rights . . . enjoyed by convicted criminals." *fn13" Thus, pretrial detainees are constitutionally entitled to medical care and humane treatment.
 
In Cambell v. Magruder *fn14" the Court was asked to alleviate existing problems in the District of Columbia Jail that violated the constitutional rights of pretrial detainees. The illegal use of restraints was one of the violations alleged by the detainees and found by the Court. To guarantee that the violations did not persist, the Court
 
Establish(ed) the following procedures governing the use of restraints:
 
a) inmates requiring restraints will be housed in a hospital setting, and not with the general population;
 
b) unpadded handcuffs and leg irons shall not be used under any circumstances. Medically appropriate restraints, padded or pliable to prevent ...

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