Guide to Grievance Procedure at Federal Prisons, Washington Lawyer's Committee, 2013
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A PRISONER’S GUIDE TO ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY REQUESTS AT FEDERAL PRISONS This Guide has been created by the D.C. Prisoners’ Project of the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. It was last updated in June 2013. It is not intended to replace the advice of an attorney. It is not legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship. You are responsible for meeting all necessary deadlines and requirements. This guide will help you with the Administrative Remedy Request process. You can find the full regulation in P.S. 1330.17. To finish the process, you must: 1. Make an informal complaint, called a BP-8 or a cop-out. 2. File a Formal Administrative Remedy request, called a BP-9. (Level 1). 3. File an appeal to the Regional Director, called a BP-10. (Level 2). 4. File an appeal to the General Counsel, called a BP-11. (Level 3). Following all the steps of the process is important in order to protect your legal rights. We know that this process is long and hard, and that you may not even get answers. But, it is important, because prisoners must finish all administrative steps before suing about prison conditions under federal law. This is because of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the PLRA. If you stop before completing the entire process because you did not receive a response, did not have the proper form, or any other reason, the court may say that you have not “exhausted” your administrative remedies and dismiss your case. Don’t take that chance. Finish the process. It also creates a paper trail and shows you tried to resolve the problem. It might even work. Be persistent and follow directions. If you get a response that asks you to submit your paperwork again, attach a staff memo, or add additional copies, do it. Don’t ever give up. Start with Step 1 right away by filing an Informal Complaint as soon as possible. Then continue with all the appeals. If you are late in your request or appeal, turn it in anyway and explain why you are late. Fill in the blanks of the worksheet as you go along. It will help you with this long and hard process. (202) 775-0323 CLIENT LINE- COLLECT CALLS ACCEPTED OVERVIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY REQUEST AT FEDERAL PRISONS Informal Complaint Level 1 Administrative Remedy Request • you have ONLY 20 DAYS after the date of the incident to file a complaint! • you have ONLY 20 DAYS after the date of the incident to file a complaint! • check with your Counselor to learn the informal complaint process at your institution • File Form BP-9 with the warden (use one form for each complaint or incident) • what next? • staff members do not have a deadline to respond to your complaint; if your problem is not resolved, move on to the next step: Level 1 • skip Level 1 ONLY for "sensitive" issues and send your form straight to the Regional Director • what next? • if you are not happy with the warden's response or they do not respond within 20 days after getting your BP-9, move on to Level 2 Level 2 Level 3 Appeal Final Appeal • File Form BP-10 with the Regional Director • File Form BP-11 with the General Counsel • the Regional Director must have your form within 20 days of the date the Warden signed his response to your BP9 • Deadlines: • if you received a response from the Regional Director, the General Counsel must have your BP-11 within 30 days of the date on the Regional Director's letter • if you never got a letter from the Regional Director, the General Counsel must have your BP-11 within 35 days of the date you filed your BP-9 • give the Regional Director 30 days to respond after they receive it (give a few days for the mail) • what next? • if you are not happy with the Regional Director's response or they do not respond within 30 days after getting your BP-10, move on to Level 3 • You have now finished the administrative grievance process and can file in court Informal Complaint Check with your Counselor • The warden at each prison creates his or her own informal complaint process. Usually this will be a written form submitted to a staff member, normally your Counselor. • You must make the informal complaint within 20 days of the incident Describe Your Problem • Make sure to write the date the event happened, not the date you are making the complaint Deadlines • Remember, staff members do not have a deadline to respond to your complaint; if your problem is not resolved, move on to the next step: Level 1 Level 1 File Formal Request with the Warden • Use Form BP-9; it must be filed within 20 days of the incident; use one form for each complaint or incident. If you have many complaints, file separate forms for each. • skip Level 1 and file your complaint directly with the Regional Director (LEVEL II) ONLY for "sensitive" issues IF you believe that your safety would be in danger if the Warden knew about your complaint • make and keep at least three (3) copies of this form. You need to keep copies for any legal action you take. You can write out the copies by hand. Describe Your Problem • Write down everything that happened. Give as many details as possible. The staff will be able to help you better if they have all the information. If you run out of room, attach an extra letter-sized page. Do not attach more than one extra page. • Tell them the date you made the informal complaint. • Write, "I disagree with the decision on the informal complaint and am filing a formal Adminstrative Remedy Request." Deadlines • if your issue involves a telephone charge, credit, or service problem, you have 120 days to file your complaint • There is a 20-day filing deadline for all other incidents and complaints. If your BP-9 is past the 20day deadline, explain why. Sometimes it is okay to file past the deadline. For example: • You didn't get a response to your informal complaint. Write "I did not receive a response to my informal complaint before this form was due. Therefore I am proceeding with the formal Administrative Remedy Request." • There was a long period of time in-transit when you had no access to the forms. • There was a long period of time when you could not fill out the paperwork because of a physical problem. • You requested the necessary forms, but were not given the forms in time. • If you are in General Population: Write how you will turn in your request. For example, “I am placing this form in the mailbox on my unit on the date above.” • If you are in Segregation or Isolation: Write how you will turn in your request. For example, “I am submitting this form to a unit staff member.” Level 2 Appeal to the Regional Director for your Region • Use Form BP-10; Attach a copy of the Form BP-9 (the Level I Form you sent earlier); the addresses for the Regional Directors are on the last page of this guide Describe Your Problem • Describe your problem just like you did in your form to the Warden. Give as much detail as possible. If you run out of room, attach an extra letter- sized page. Do not attach more than one extra page. Make 2 copies of it. You can write out your copies by hand. Deadlines • This form must arrive at the regional office within 20 days of the day the warden signed your Administrative Remedy Request (not the day you got it). If you are late, explain why. Sometimes it is okay to file past the deadline. • The staff has 30 days to respond to your grievance after they receive it. Allow a few days for the mail • If you are in General Population: Write how you will turn in your request. For example, “I am placing this form in the mailbox on my unit on the date above.” • If you are in Segregation or Isolation: Write how you will turn in your request. For example, “I am submitting this form to a unit staff member to be placed in a US mailbox.” Level 3 Appeal to the General Counsel • Use Form BP-11; send to the National Inmate Appeals Administrator, Office of General Counsel. The address is 320 First St., NW Washington, D.C. 20534 • Attach copies of Forms BP-9 and BP-10 that you sent earlier; Make at least two copies of your Form BP-11. You can write out your copies by hand. Describe Your Problem • Begin your Form BP-11 by writing either: • “I disagree with the decision I received regarding my Administrative Remedy Appeal Request that I filed on __________ (date on line I), and I am filing another appeal.” OR • “I have attached a copy of the Administrative Remedy Appeal Request that I filed on _________ (date on line I). I did not receive a response within 35 days. I am now exercising my right to appeal to the next level. • Describe your problem, making sure to state all relevant facts. The more details you give, the more information the staff has to address your concern. If you run out of room, you may attach only one extra letter-size page. Make three copies of that page. You can write out copies by hand. Deadlines • Did you get a response from the Regional Director? • IF YES, this form must arrive at the national office within 30 days of the date on the Regional Director’s letter. If you are late, explain why. Sometimes it is okay to file past the deadline. • IF NO, You must file this form within 35 days of the date you filed your Level I appeal (date on Line I). If you are late, explain why. Sometimes it is okay to file past the deadline. • If you are in General Population: Write how you will turn in your request. For example, “I am placing this form in the mailbox on my unit on the date above.” • If you are in Segregation or Isolation: Write how you will turn in your request. For example, “I am submitting this form to a unit staff member to be placed in a US mailbox.” Addresses of Bureau of Prisons Regional Directors Regional Director Mid-Atlantic Regional Office 302 Sentinel Drive Suite 200 Annapolis Junction, MD 20701 Regional Director North Central Regional Office 400 State Avenue, Suite 800 Kansas City, KS 66101 Regional Director Northeast Regional Office 2nd & Chestnut St., 7th Flr Philadelphia, PA 19106 Regional Director South Central Regional Office 4211 Cedar Springs Road Dallas, Texas 75219 Regional Director Southeast Regional Office 3800 Camp Creek Parkway, S.W. Building 2000 Atlanta, Georgia 30331 Regional Director Western Regional Office Federal Bureau of Prisons 7338 Shoreline Drive Stockton, CA 95219 ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY REQUEST WORKSHEET INFORMAL COMPLAINT A. Date the Incident happened: B. Date you made your Informal Complaint: C. Deadline (Date of Incident + 20 days): ________ ________ ________ LEVEL I (FORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE REQUEST) D. I am Filing My Form BP-9 today. Today’s Date is: ________ E. How many copies did you make of form BP-9? ________ F. I should get a Response to my BP-9 on: ________ (add 23 days to the date on line D. The Warden must respond to the form within 20 days after he or she receives the form. Allow time for the form to get to the Warden through the mail) G. Did you receive a Continuance Form telling you that the staff needs more than 20 days to respond to your Administrative Request? Yes ________ The new date a Response is due is ________ (This is the date given on the continuance form) No ________ H. Today is the date listed on Line F or Line G. Did I get a Response to my Request by the end of the day? Yes ________ No ________ LEVEL II (APPEAL) I. I am filing my Level II Appeal (BP-10) today. Today’s date is ________ J. How many copies of form BP-10 did you make? ________ K. I should get a Response to my BP-10 on ________ (add 35 days to the date in Line I) ________ L. Today is the date listed on Line K. Did I get a Response to my Appeal by the end of the day? Yes ________ No ________ LEVEL III (FINAL APPEAL) M. I am filing my Level III Appeal (BP-11) today. Today’s date is ________ (This must be sent 30 days after the date of the Regional Director’s signature on your Level II Response or 35 days after the date on Line I) N. How many copies of form BP-11 did you make? ________ O. I should get a Response to my Level III Appeal on ________ (fill in this blank by adding 45 days to the date on Line M. Staff has 40 days from the date they receive the appeal to respond. Also allow time for the mail process) P. It is now the date given on Line O. Did I get a Response to my Appeal by the end of the day? Yes ________ No ________ Congratulations!! This process is now complete and you have preserved your right to file in court. If you do file in court, you must have two copies of what you submitted at each level.