As federal court caseloads increased in the twentieth century, concerned jurists and academics pointed their fingers at many potential culprits. One culprit in particular, however, caught the attention of Congress: suits brought by prisoners. To curtail what it believed was an influx of frivolous prisoner litigation, Congress passed the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) in 1996. One provision of the PLRA, known as the “three strikes rule,” prohibits a prisoner from proceeding in forma pauperis if three or more of the prisoner’s prior actions or appeals have been dismissed as frivolous or malicious or for failure to state a claim unless the prisoner alleges he is under imminent danger of serious physical injury. This Note argues that the courts should dismantle the PLRA’s three strikes rule in the face of legislative inaction. First, the three strikes rule is contrary to Supreme Court precedent that recognizes a constitutional right for prisoners to file civil rights claims. Moreover, the rule’s imminent danger exception does not cure its constitutional deficiencies. Finally, the rule has failed to accomplish its goal of filtering out frivolous claims while ensuring meritorious claims are heard.
"You’re Out!: Three Strikes Against the PLRA’s Three Strikes Rule,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 57:
2, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol57/iss2/7