The Court Takes the Bite Out of the Exhaustion Requirement of the PLRA

The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) was enacted in 1996 primarily to reduce prisoner litigation.  The passage of the PLRA led to a decrease in the number of cases filed in federal court by prisoners.  However, there is also evidence that suggests that even meritorious claims are barred from federal court based on technicalities through a failure to comply with the PLRA.  While the initial intent of the PLRA was to prohibit the increasing flow of frivolous suits by prisoners at the time, the consequences have been dire for prisoners seeking redress for meritorious claims that fail to meet the PLRA’s high standard of exhaustion.

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