Retaliation Against Chaplain for Trying to Educate Prisoner Upheld
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The plaintiff, a prison chaplain, tried to arrange literacy training for a "circuit rider," a prisoner kept permanently in segregation and frequently transferred. The warden refused to let him do it, suggesting an educator would be a more appropriate choice. He had a conversation with a higher official on the subject, annoying the warden and his supervisor, who allegedly retaliated against him in various ways. The district court found for defendants after a trial, holding that the conversation with the higher official was not about a matter of public concern and was therefore not protected by the First Amendment. The appeals court affirms. The plaintiff was not bringing wrongdoing to light but was airing a personal disagreement. See: Button v. Kibby-Brown, 146 F.3d 526 (7th Cir. 1998).