Managers Need Comprehensive Systems for Assessing Effectiveness and Operation of Inmate Grievance Mechanisms

GGD-78-3: Published: Oct 17, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 1977.

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H.R. 9400 would require that the Attorney General develop minimum standards for inmate grievance mechanisms in federal and state correctional institutions to include time limits, staff and inmate participation, provision for emergencies, prohibition against reprisals for filing grievances, and outside review.

The Bureau of Prisons and most states have implemented inmate grievance mechanisms without comprehensive management information systems which will tell them how well their mechanisms are operating. The Bureau's management information system is limited and is not used to identify problems; it merely consists of logs of grievances filed and annual reports showing the number of each type of grievance filed at each institution and disposition of grievances by institution. Officials in several states stated that there is a need for monitoring and evaluating grievance mechanisms, and that a model system adapted to their operations would be desirable. The California Youth Authority has been operating a comprehensive management information system for assessing grievance mechanisms which involves collecting monthly statistical data and conducting sample interviews and administering questionnaires and tests to staff and inmates. Information obtained may be used to identify deviations from norms, determine perceptions and knowledge of the system, detect problems, and provide evidence supporting corrective action.

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