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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.

 

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