This article critiques the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) from the imagined perspective of a jailhouse punk. His sexual exploitation by fellow inmates “turns” him into a non-man, placing him at the bottom of a society of captive men. From his perspective, the PLRA deters him from bringing a federal failure-to-protect lawsuit. First, the PLRA requires exhausting administrative remedies before he can bring a lawsuit. Doing so, however, exposes him to ridicule and retaliation. Second, by making a “prior showing of physical injury” a precondition for an award of actual damages for mental or emotional harm, the PLRA effectively bars some victims of prison sexual exploitation from receiving deserved compensation. Justice for punks requires exempting allegations of prison sexual assault from the PLRA's exhaustion and physical injury provisions.
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