Grievance Mechanisms in State Correctional Institutions and Large-City Jails

GGD-77-63: Published: Jun 17, 1977. Publicly Released: Jun 17, 1977.

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Information obtained on grievance mechanisms in State correctional institutions and several large-city jails related to the number and kind of institutions covered by mechanisms, type of mechanisms used, and the extent to which mechanisms incorporated design principles devised by the Center for Community Justice. Grievances may be expressed through either formal or ombudsman procedures. The principles developed by the center to serve as a basis for grievance mechanisms are (1) a broad range of issues, (2) universal access without reprisals, (3) written responses with reasons, (4) time limits, (5) inmate and staff participation, and (6) outside review.

Based on information obtained from officials in 50 states and the 20 largest cities, 43 states have formal inmate grievance mechanisms for adults and 23 for youth institutions. These mechanisms are available to 255,675 of 298,632 adult and youth inmates in State institutions. Of the correctional agencies serving the 20 largest cities, 12 had formal inmate grievance mechanisms for adults. Four of the 20 cities either did not provide information on youth or used State institutions for youths. Of the remaining 16, 11 had formal mechanisms for youth. Most of the formal grievance procedures did not include outside review. Plans for implementation of grievance mechanisms were said by officials to exist in some of the other states and cities. The accuracy of information furnished was not verified.

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