The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) is a federal statute that places difficult hurdles on prisoners attempting to file a civil rights lawsuit. The experienced civil rights attorneys at Miller Law Group can help you navigate these restrictions and hold the government accountable if your rights have been violated while incarcerated.
The most important restriction established by the PLRA is the exhaustion requirement. Under the statute, prisoners must first attempt to resolve their claim by going through the prison’s internal grievance process. This requirement can be frustrating and time consuming. The grievance process severely limits your possible remedies and does not allow for monetary damages. While the grievance process may seem like a formality, it is a critical first step in any civil rights claim by a prisoner. If no grievance is filed, or if the grievance process is incomplete, any attempt to file a civil rights claim in court will be dismissed. However, once the grievance process is complete, prisoners are free to file a civil rights claim in court and pursue monetary damages.
Another critical limitation is that prisoners cannot seek damages for mental or emotional harm unless they also show actual physical injury. While punitive damages may still be available in some cases, this restriction severely limits the types of recovery that prisoners can seek, and courts vary widely on how they implement this limitation.
These are just a few of the hurdles created by the PLRA. While the PLRA does make it harder for prisoners to seek justice when their rights have been violated, the civil rights lawyers at Miller Law Group can help you navigate these strict requirements. With offices in North Carolina, Washington D.C., and South Carolina, we can help you hold the government accountable if your rights were violated while in custody.
Contact Miller Law Group or call (919) 348-4361 for a free consultation today.