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Broken Gate? A Study of the PLRA Exhaustion Requirement Past, Present, and Future
Unformatted Document Text:  Broken Gate? whether a hierarchy had been set within which urgent grievances could receive more immediate attention; (4) whether steps had been taken to protect participants in the grievance process from subsequent retaliation; and (5) whether there was an avenue for review of inmate grievances and the institutional responses provided thereto via an independent body not within the supervisory chain of the offending party or correctional institution (Belbot, 2004, p. 293). Thus, in this manner, the detailed exhaustion requirements of CRIPA are responsible for state departments of corrections formulating the grievance procedures remaining in use today in the context of the PLRA exhaustion requirement (Belbot, 2004). Claims brought pursuant to the PLRA are generally brought pursuant to three Constitutional Amendments – the First Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, and/or the Fourteenth Amendment (Williamson, 2006). The precise contours of prisoners’ claims falling within this broad framework are quite varied (Schlanger, 2002). A prisoner may raise challenges to the free exercise of religion, the establishment of religion, free speech, and/or retaliation vis-à-vis the First Amendment (U.S.C.A. Const. Amend I, 1789). A prisoner’s Eighth Amendment claim might be comprised of allegations of excessive force, failure to protect, denial or delay of medical care and/or conditions of confinement (U.S.C.A. Const. Amend. VIII, 1789). Finally, a prisoner’s Fourteenth Amendment claim can be raised in the context of either a due process or an equal protection violation (U.S.C.A. Const. Amend XIV, 1868). Which claim or claims a prisoner brings in any given lawsuit has practical implications on his/her ease of complying with the PLRA’s exhaustion requirement (which will be discussed in considerable detail below), as well as upon that individual’s likelihood of prevailing in the event of a trial. 5

Authors: Passarelli, Mariah.
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Broken Gate?
whether a hierarchy had been set within which urgent grievances could receive more 
immediate attention; (4) whether steps had been taken to protect participants in the 
grievance process from subsequent retaliation; and (5) whether there was an avenue for 
review of inmate grievances and the institutional responses provided thereto via an 
independent body not within the supervisory chain of the offending party or correctional 
institution (Belbot, 2004, p. 293).  Thus, in this manner, the detailed exhaustion 
requirements of CRIPA are responsible for state departments of corrections formulating 
the grievance procedures remaining in use today in the context of the PLRA exhaustion 
requirement (Belbot, 2004).  
Claims brought pursuant to the PLRA are generally brought pursuant to three 
Constitutional Amendments – the First Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, and/or the 
Fourteenth Amendment (Williamson, 2006).  The precise contours of prisoners’ claims 
falling within this broad framework are quite varied (Schlanger, 2002).  A prisoner may 
raise challenges to the free exercise of religion, the establishment of religion, free speech, 
and/or retaliation vis-à-vis the First Amendment (U.S.C.A. Const. Amend I, 1789).  A 
prisoner’s Eighth Amendment claim might be comprised of allegations of excessive 
force, failure to protect, denial or delay of medical care and/or conditions of confinement 
(U.S.C.A. Const. Amend. VIII, 1789).  Finally, a prisoner’s Fourteenth Amendment 
claim can be raised in the context of either a due process or an equal protection violation 
(U.S.C.A. Const. Amend XIV, 1868).  Which claim or claims a prisoner brings in any 
given lawsuit has practical implications on his/her ease of complying with the PLRA’s 
exhaustion requirement (which will be discussed in considerable detail below), as well as 
upon that individual’s likelihood of prevailing in the event of a trial.   

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