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Grievance Policy Modified

In response to recent legislation the Justice Department has issued an interim rule that modifies regulations relating to state prisoner grievance procedures, encoded in Part 40 of 28 CFR. Under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S. C. § 1997(e), a prisoner who has filed a civil rights action in federal court may be forced to exhaust local administrative grievance procedures if those procedures have been certified by the U.S. attorney general as being in substantial compliance with minimum standards or found by a court to be so. The interim rule makes two kinds of amendments to existing regulations to reflect changes made by the 1994 federal crime bill. [PLN, Dec.1994]. First, it increases the time period for which the federal court may continue the § 1983 case from 90 to 180 days. Second, it now provides that exhaustion may be required if the attorney general certifies, or the court determines, that the administrative grievance procedure is "otherwise fair and effective" even though it does not comply with the minimum standards promulgated by the attorney general. The interim rule, upon which the Dept. Of Justice requests comments, was published at 60 Fed. Reg. 13902 (3/15/95).

Reported at 57 CrL 1043, April 12, 1995.

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