Louis A. Vargas|
The Office of General Counsel provides legal advice to the department heads and staff regarding personnel matters, rule promulgation, bids, contracts, sentence structure, early release, gain time, public records, subpoenas and legislation. This office also represents the department in judicial and administrative tribunals, and provides training to staff. The Bureau of Inmate Grievance Appeals and the Bureau of Policy Development are now under the authority of the Office of the General Counsel.
The Bureau of Inmate Grievance Appeals is responsible for providing inmates with a channel for the administrative settlement of legitimate complaints. All grievances are reviewed, evaluated, appropriately investigated, and responded to. The grievance process assists the department by providing an avenue for internal resolution of problems, improving the lines of communication and identifying good practices to share with others. Additionally, the grievance procedure provides a written record in the event of subsequent judicial or administrative review. Utilization of this process produces a safer environment for staff and inmates. The bureau continually strives to provide inmates an impartial, consistent, and expeditious mechanism for resolving grievances.
The Bureau of Policy Development is a new unit within the Office of the General Counsel. It was established to coordinate the process for the department's procedure development, ensuring that the development, revision, approval and dissemination of all procedures are operationally sound, and in accordance with existing statutes and rules. The office is also responsible for the department's form development process. These functions represent the department's emphasis on standardization and seamless delivery. The office also responds to requests for information about existing and past policies and procedures from the legislative and executive branches of government, attorneys, courts, and the public.