INMATE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES

It is out of concern for prisoner rights and prison conditions that the need for a channel for inmate grievances emerged. At present, there are several avenues that an inmate can pursue in order to address a grievance. These avenues can be laid out in the following way:

Inmate Grievance Procedure

FEDERAL

Correctional Investigator
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Commissioner of Correctional Services Canada
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Deputy Commissioner at Regional Headquarters
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Warden of Institution
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Inmate Grievance Committee
(where available)
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Correctional Staff
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Inmate

PROVINCIAL

Provincial Ombudsman
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Director of Institution
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Correctional Staff
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Inmate

Internal Grievance Procedures

Before an inmate attempts to file a written complaint with either the Ombudsman or the Correctional Investigator, he or she should first try to resolve the problem through the internal grievance procedure, and before going through the inmate grievance process, inmates are advised to first talk to staff to try to solve the problem informally.

  Federal institutions.
 
The institutions have different policies for dealing with complaints:
   
1)

Within each institution, there is an inmate grievance clerk, entitled the Institutional Grievance Coordinator. This individual meets with the inmate to discuss the complaint. Often, the inmate can settle the grievance informally. If the inmate wishes to pursue the grievance formally, the clerk will assist in putting the grievance in writing and in submitting the complaint.

  • Some institutions have Inmate Grievance Committees, composed of two staff and two inmate members, and chaired by a non-voting person who may be either a staff member or an inmate. Written complaints must be submitted to them and they subsequently render a decision on the issue.

  • In those institutions that do not have a grievance coordinator or grievance committee, the inmate must make a written complaint of the grievance and address it to the appropriate authority, such as the unit manager, the correctional supervisor, or the health care manager. At Bowden Institution in Alberta, a written complaint must be sent to the Chief of Administration who subsequently passes the complaint on to the proper authority.


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