United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. SHERIDAN, U.S.D.J.
matter comes before the Court on a motion filed by Plaintiff
Juan Ibn-Don Mumit Turner. The motion seeks relief on two
matters. The first is a "motion to be transferred by
court order to East Jersey State Prison in Rahway, New
Jersey." The Court issued a memorandum and order denying
that aspect of the motion on April 16, 2019. (ECF No. 68).
second request is that the Court direct the State of New
Jersey to ship his property (including his mini-tablet) from
Florida, where he was formerly incarcerated, to return the
property to him. (ECF No. 61). Pursuant to the Court's
April 16, 2019 order, the parties have submitted supplemental
briefing. (ECF Nos. 73, 75).
is incarcerated in New Jersey State Prison. Plaintiff was
transferred to a facility in Florida. However, on November
18, 2018, Plaintiff requested to be transferred back to New
Jersey because (1) the transfer to Florida did not facilitate
family visitations to Plaintiffs satisfaction and (2)
Plaintiff had ongoing legal matters in New Jersey.
claims that when he was transferred back to New Jersey,
prison officials did not permit him to bring his court
documents or his electronic tablet with him. Specifically,
Plaintiff seeks: (1) "A court order for the State of New
Jersey to pay for [his] property to be shipped here from
Florida... and for this Court to put a lien on [Plaintiffs]
inmate account where a percentage of funds can be deducted
until that amount is repaid by Plaintiff; and (2) "a
court order for Plaintiffs JP-5 mini tablet to be released to
him in general population or held by the educational
supervisor in the DB school so that Plaintiff may have access
to it to review his legal documents."
first claim - for his documents to be returned to him at the
expense of the State of New Jersey - is meritless. New Jersey
regulations provide: "The shipment of personal property
in consensual transfers that are requested by the inmate for
personal reasons, such as, but not limited to, programmatic
opportunities or family reasons, shall be at the expense of
the inmate." N.J.A.C. § 10A:1-11.7(g)(2). Exhibit A
to the Defendants' brief demonstrates - in Plaintiffs own
writing - that Plaintiff requested the transfer to and from
Florida. Therefore, Plaintiff is responsible for the expenses
associated with the transfer. Moreover, Plaintiff appears to
acknowledge that the "boxes of legal work" that are
the subject of the request have been mailed from New River
Correctional Institute (the Florida facility).
because Plaintiff himself is responsible for the expenses
associated with the shipment and the documents appear to have
been already mailed, this aspect of his motion is denied.
second request, relating to his JP-5 mini tablet, is
similarly meritless because that device is not permitted in
New Jersey correctional institutions by the New Jersey
Department of Corrections. The Department of Corrections
maintains a "Zero Tolerance for Misuse of Electronic
Communication Device Policy." N.J.A.C. § 10A:4-
12.2(a)(2). According to the Declaration of Lt. Steve
Jonaitis, attached to Defendants' brief, "The JP5
type rechargeable battery, that Plaintiff acquired while
housed in a Florida correctional facility, is not authorized
in NJDOC facilities for operational security reasons."
(Defendants' Brief, Ex. B, Declaration of Lt. Steve
Jonaitis ("Jonaitis Decl."), ECF No. 73-1 at ¶
9). The Supreme Court has emphasized "the importance of
according deference to prison authorities' choices about
how to run their institution." Washington v.
Klem, 497 F.3d 272 (3d Cir. 2007) (citing Cutter v.
Wilkinson, 544 U.S. 709 (2005)). The Court sees no
reason to question the prison authorities' choices here.
Defendants have cited N.J.A.C. § 10A:1-11.3, which
provides a procedure regarding an inmate's
Designated staff at the correctional facility shall inventory
and package the nonpermissible personal property and the
inmate shall indicate, in writing, which of the following
means of disposal should be used with respect to the
non-permissible personal ...