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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Bureau of Inmate Grievance Appeals

The Bureau of Inmate Grievance Appeals provides a central clearing house for inmate grievances. The purpose for an Inmate Grievance Procedure is to provide inmates with a channel for the administrative settlement of a legitimate complaint. In addition to providing the inmate with the opportunity of having a grievance heard and considered, such procedure will assist the department by providing additional means for internal resolution of problems and improving the lines of communication. This procedure also provides a written record in the event of subsequent judicial or administrative review. This is even more important now that certification has been granted by the United States Department of Justice.

Accomplishments and Activities Include:

  • Certification of the Inmate Grievance Procedure
  • The Department of Corrections pursued certification for several years. On March 25, 1992, Secretary Singletary was notified that the Florida Department of Corrections had been awarded full certification of their Grievance Procedure for inmates.
  • Federal courts have been notified by the Justice Department that inmates can be required to exhaust administrative remedies prior to the court accepting their complaints.
  • Management of our own procedure has been, since certification, under ever increasing and closer scrutiny. The courts are now able to see how we resolve complaints. We strive to ensure that our handling of grievance complaints represents a genuine reflection of the Department’s intent to fairly and equitably resolve all complaints registered by inmates and respond to the complaint on its merit(s).
  • The benefits of certification and a properly managed grievance procedure include: information to be used as a correctional management tool to determine where problems exist and corrections/adjustments are necessary; information to identify where good practices exist and can be shared with others; improve staff credibility with the inmates; improve department credibility with the courts; provide a resource of documentation for issues inmates take to the courts that later require response from the department; head off issues getting to the courts by resolving them internally; and reduce the number of complaints being filed with the courts.

The following summarizes the grievances received, reviewed and processed by the Bureau of Inmate Grievance Appeals for 1994 - 1995:

Received
Processed/ Completed
Approved
Denied
Returned
Withdrawn
Other
22,538
21,981
1,083
11,775
9,046
1
76

Number of grievances received by type:

Transfers
380
Program Assignments
1,466
Communications
449
Confinement
308
Discipline
6,088
Institutional Operations
1,784
Medical
2,379
Legal
2,753
Grievance Process
1,175
Complaints Against Staff
3,052
Personal Property
1,008
Food Services
594
Miscellaneous
848
Admissible Reading Material
186
ADA
68

The workload for the Bureau of Inmate Grievance Appeal will continue to grow as the inmate population grows. The number of grievances received (22,538) during FY 1994-95 represents a 26% increase over the previous fiscal year. Projections for the next two fiscal years are 31,000 grievances in FY 1995-96 and 42,000 in FY 1996-97.