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Addressing the Unintended Consequences of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA)

Last Update: April 22, 2008

What's at Stake

ACLU Efforts to Fix the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA)

Former Inmate Garrett Cunningham on his Experience With the PLRA
MP3 | Podcast

> The SAVE Coalition

The PLRA was passed in 1996 to reduce frivolous litigation by prisoners, but since then we have seen numerous meritorious claims barred from reaching federal court due to the insurmountable barriers imposed by the draconian law. Now that we have 11 years of experience with the PLRA, it is clear that the unintended consequences of thelaw have left victims of rape, religious rights violations, and other abuses, from having their constitutional claims heard in court. The ACLU is working as part of a bi-partisan coalition, called the Coalition to Stop Abuse and Violence Everywhere (SAVE), to ensure the law is fixed so that prisoners’ rights may be protected. For more information about the SAVE Coalition’s efforts toget the PLRA amended, visit the website at:

Testimony on PLRA April 22, 2008 (PDFs)
> Stephen Bright, Founder of the Southern Center for Human Rights
> Ernie Preate, Former Pennsylvania Attorney General
> John Gibbons, Retired 3rd Circuit Judge
> Jeanne Woodford, Former Warden of San Quentin Prison
> Caroline Fredrickson, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office, and Elizabeth Alexander, Director, ACLU National Prison Project

> Information on H.R.4335: Prison Abuse Remedies Act of 2009 (Introduced 12/16/2009)

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