An effective grievance program extends far beyond the staff of the grievance department. It involves an ongoing commitment by both staff and offenders at every facility to solve problems. The grievance program also provides a variety of supportive and protective functions by giving the offender an alternative to confrontation and an outlet for frustration and aggression. The program offers the offender a less formal alternative to litigation, thus saving taxpayers the cost of defending the agency in court. Grievances, when taken collectively, provide a wealth of insight into the daily operations of each unit that is helpful in maintaining a safe and secure environment for staff and offenders.
The current offender grievance process facilitates problem resolution at two distinct administrative levels. The first, commonly referred to as Step 1, allows the Warden to identify and resolve issues at the unit level. The second level, known as Step 2, affords an offender the opportunity to appeal the Warden’s decision. Step 2 grievances are sent off the unit to the Central Grievance Office in Huntsville, Texas for
review. Once the two-step process has been completed, the offender’s administrative remedies within TDCJ have been exhausted.
During Fiscal Year 2012 Texas offenders located in TDCJ units across the state filed a combined 216,258 Step 1 and Step 2 grievances, which represents an increase from the previous fiscal year. Approximately 26% of all Step 1 grievances were appealed to the second step, indicating that effective problem resolution is occurring at the unit level.
√ TDCJ policies and procedures
√ Actions of an employee or another offender
√ Harassment and/or retaliation for use of the
grievance procedure or access to courts
√ Loss or damage of pers
onal property by TDCJ
√ Basic care (things that TDCJ has control over)
x State or Federal Laws
x Parole decisions
x Time-served credit disputes
x Matters for which other formal appeal
x Any matter beyond the control of the Agency
Remedies which are available through the Grievance Procedures
√ Restitution of property, either monetary or
√ Change of policy, procedures, rule, or practice;
√ Corrections of records;
√ Other relief, as appropriate
Remedies which are not available through the Grievance Procedure
x Requests for disciplinary
action against employees.
x Requests for consequential or punitive damages