Resource: Permissive Joinder Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act: More Than Just a Procedural Tool

By: Caitlin Overland

February 17, 2011

Lewis and Clark Law Review

This Comment seeks to explore the circuit split on whether prisoners seeking pauper status may join similar claims together under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. I argue that joinder must be allowed under the PLRA for two main reasons. First, barring joint prisoner suits may act to inhibit needed improvements in the nation’s prisons because multi-party prison litigation has historically served as the major vehicle for reform and continues to be a vital tool for change. Second, congressional intent underlying the PLRA meant to reduce the number of prisoner suits, not burden judicial resources by inhibiting similar suits to be heard together before one judge. This intent aligns with the underlying purpose of joinder: to promote judicial economy.