Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Prison Litigation Reform Act 1996
Frances P. Bernat
In 1996, Congress passed the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. §1915, in order to limit inmate litigation. The PLRA's main provisions require prisoners to exhaust administrative procedures before filing lawsuits, allow courts to dismiss complaints if a cause of action is not clearly stated, limit attorney's fees and special masters, and regulate the relief that courts can order. The act's provisions also modified the filing procedures for indigent inmates who file in forma pauperis actions. Courts must now dismiss indigent inmate claims if they are “frivolous,” “malicious,” or “fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted” (28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)). In addition, if an inmate has had three or more prior complaints or appeals dismissed, then he or she will be barred from filing any further actions unless the complaint addresses a situation of “imminent” or “serious” bodily harm (28 U.S.C. §1915(g)). Under the PLRA, In ...