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Inmate Grievance Procedures

NCJ Number
Jail Operations Bulletin Volume: 1 Issue: 11 Dated: (1989) Pages: 1-6
A M Wallenstein
Date Published
6 pages
Every jail must develop a clear and responsive prisoner grievance procedure, including a formal means of delivering complaints and concerns from a prisoner to the administration and the procedures by which the prisoner receives a written response. However, the prisoner should not be able to use the procedures to avoid institutional rules and regulations.
In jails where officers are trained to maintain control of inmates humanely and effectively, grievance procedures do not undermine authority. The grievance policy should include an informal resolution channel, should highlight the primary role of line staff in the jail's daily operations, must be in writing and provided to every prisoner, must define the scope of grievance issues, and must include an appeal procedure. Grievance officers must be impartial, prison grievance forms should be easily available and kept confidential, and the hearing and investigation should be prompt in order to ensure credibility. Prisoner representation is not recommended, although all prisoners should have equal access to the grievance process. Although the procedures help monitor institutional operations, they should not replace normal requests from inmates.