The Supreme Court said today that it would clarify when inmates can file civil rights lawsuits contesting prison conditions, the Associated Press reports. The justices will review the cases of three Michigan inmates whose lawsuits were dismissed because they had failed to complete administrative grievance processes or did not name every prison official they tried to sue.
In the 1995 Prison Litigation Reform Act, Congress sought to limit lawsuits filed by inmates over conditions of their confinement, including such issues as the quality of medical care and prison food. The law requires judges to ensure that inmates have completed a prison’s internal complaint process before allowing a lawsuit to go forward. The cases will be heard in the 2006-7 term, which which begins in October.