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Unformatted text preview: timothy booth, PETITIONER v. C. O. CHURNER et al. ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT [May 29, 2001] Justice Souter delivered the opinion of the Court. The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 amended 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (a), which now requires a prisoner to exhaust “such administrative remedies as are available” before suing over prison conditions. The question is whether an inmate seeking only money damages must complete a prison administrative process that could provide some sort of relief on the complaint stated, but no money. We hold that he must. I Petitioner, Timothy Booth, was an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Smithfield, Pennsylvania, when he began this action under Rev. Stat. §1979, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. He claimed that respondent corrections officers at Smithfield violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by assaulting him, bruising his wrists in tightening and twisting handcuffs placed upon him, throwing cleaning material in his face, and denying him medical attention to treat ensuing injuries. Booth sought various forms of injunctive relief, including transfer to another prison, as well as several hundred thousand dollars in money damages. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections provided an administrative grievance system at the time. It called for a written charge within 15 days of an event prompting an inmate’s complaint, which was referred to a grievance officer for investigation and resolution. If any action taken or recommended was unsatisfactory to the inmate, he could appeal to an intermediate reviewing authority, with the possibility of a further and final appeal to a central review committee. App. 46—50. While the grievance system addressed complaints of the abuse and excessive force Booth alleged, it had no provision for recovery of money damages. 1 Before resorting to federal court, Booth filed an administrative grievance charging at least some of the acts of abuse he later alleged in his action. Id., at 10—14. He did not, however, go beyond the first step, and never sought intermediate or final administrative review after the prison authority denied relief....
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