Prison Litigation

Prison Litigation

The Prison Litigation Reform Act: Answer to Frivolous Prison Lawsuits?


Table of Contents

Introduction Pg. 3
PRLA Pg. 4
PRLA and the Effects on Prison Lawsuits Pg. 7
Current Lawsuit Trends Pg. 10
Summary and Conclusion Pg. 12
References Pg. 14


Each year, prison inmates flood the legal system with lawsuits regarding a multitude of trivial issues. The Department of Justice released specific examples that follow the pattern of frivolous lawsuits from prison inmates. One lawsuit claimed that a limit on the number of Kool-Aid refills is cruel and unusual punishment. Another inmate filed a one million dollar lawsuit because guards wouldn’t refrigerate his ice cream snack so that he could eat it later. These are just two of the many frivolous lawsuits that find a way into America’s courts. Not only are these lawsuits laughable, but they put a strain on our legal system as well as waste taxpayers money that could be put to better use and back into the correctional system.
With these types of lawsuits on the rise, the question to ask is should there be a review panel in place to help reduce or eliminate frivolous lawsuits filed by prison inmates? Opponents to this may equate review panels to barriers that violate due process and equal protection. Because such a reform walks a thin line of legal ethics regarding due process rights and equal protection, there must be outstanding reasons for limiting these rights of prison inmates. This also poses the dilemma of who would take on the role of reviewing these claims because the panel members replace the judge and the jury.
As a correctional manager, it is important we make sure that the policies and procedures of the agency are solidly in place and that the members of the agency receive proper training to make sure they act properly and in accordance to all policies and laws.

In 1995, Congress enacted the Prison...

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