The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Magistrate Judge Michael R. Merz
District Judge Thomas M. Rose
Thirty-six inmates at the Miami County Jail and the Miami County Incarceration Facility signed and filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with this Court on October 26, 2006. Although captioned as a "Writ of Habeas Corpus," the Petition seeks an order from this Court which would require the Defendants
(1) to provide prescription medications on a $3 co-pay basis as is assertedly done in other county jails and state penal facilities
(2) to refund to prisoners the balances in their inmate accounts upon release instead of thirty days later.
Basically, a petition for writ of habeas corpus seeks a release from custody of an imprisoned person and is subject to a separate set of rules from ordinary civil cases. On the other hand, a lawsuit contending that certain prison conditions are unconstitutional and seeking an order to correct those conditions can be brought under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §1983. The two remedies are not interchangeable; the Court cannot grant injunctive relief of the sort sought by the Inmates on a petition for writ of habeas corpus.
Additionally, there are certain prerequisites to filing a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. §1983, including paying the filing fee or obtaining permission to file without that fee by showing indigence. Also, prisoners must exhaust any available administrative remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 Title VIII of P.L. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321(effective April 26, 1996)(the "PLRA") before they can file suit.
The Court notes that the Petition was sent to the Court by Rick Reed. The Clerk will furnish Mr. Reed with a copy of this Order, of the form for applying to proceed without prepayment of the fees, and the forms for making service of process. If Mr. Reed wishes to proceed with the lawsuit (which will require him to pay the filing fee in installments), he should complete the application and return it, along with a statement of what has been done to exhaust any administrative remedies and completed forms for service of process (summons and United States Marshal Form 285's for each named Defendant). The Court will then convert this to a regular civil suit for further proceedings. If no response is received by November 30, 2006, the Court will conclude that Mr. Reed does not wish to proceed and will close this miscellaneous case.
Michael R. Merz Chief United States Magistrate Judge
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