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BOP Medical Detainees Not Subject to PLRA

In a brief per curiam opinion, the court of appeals for the Eighth circuit held that a Federal Medical Center detainee in Missouri was exempt from the administrative exhaustion provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).

The court held that civilly committed detainees are not "prisoners" within the meaning of the PLRA and thus are not bound by its requirements when they challenge their conditions of confinement. The court agreed with Page v. Torrey, 201 F.3d 1136 (9th Cir. 2000) that the PLRA applies only to people accused or convicted of violating criminal laws. The district court had dismissed the case for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

The court of appeals reversed the district court's dismissal of the plaintiff's case, holding that the prison trust fund account procedures of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 do not apply to civilly committed detainees. The case was remanded for further proceedings. See: Perkins v. Hedricks, 340 F.3d 582 (8th Cir. 2003).

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Related legal case

Perkins v. Hedricks

Perkins v. Hedricks, 340 F.3d 582 (8th Cir. 08/14/2003)

[1] U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

[2] No. 03-1808

[3] 340 F.3d 582, 2003

[4] August 14, 2003


[6] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

[7] Before Morris Sheppard Arnold, Bye, and Smith, Circuit Judges.

[8] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam


[10] Submitted: July 3, 2003

[11] Federal Medical Center detainee Victor B. Perkins appeals the district court's preservice dismissal of his civil filing for failure to exhaust administrative remedies under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Having carefully reviewed the record, we conclude dismissal was improper. The exhaustion requirement of section 1997e does not apply, as Perkins appears to be civilly committed and is thus not a prisoner within the meaning of the PLRA. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) (no action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions by a "prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility" under any federal law, until inmate exhausts available administrative remedies); 18 U.S.C. § 3626(g)(3) (as relevant, term "prisoner" means any person subject to detention who is accused of, convicted of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law); Page v. Torrey, 201 F.3d 1136, 1139-40 (9th Cir. 2000) (person detained civilly for non-punitive purposes is not "prisoner" within meaning of PLRA, and thus administrative-exhaustion rules do not apply).

[12] Accordingly, we (1) grant Perkins in forma pauperis status, noting that the inmate-account procedures of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 do not apply to him, (2) remand to the district court for further consideration of Perkins's claim, and (3) deny his pending motions.