Texas Civil Rights Project
1405 Montopolis Drive
Austin, TX 78741-3436
Office: (512) 474-5073
Intake Hours: Thursdays, 1-4pm CST (by phone only)
Website:Texas Civil Rights Project

The Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP): Prisoners’ Rights Program works to improve conditions in Texas prisons and jails through litigation and advocacy. The Prisoners’ Rights Program concentrates on cases that will have broad impact by changing a policy or creating other systemic relief. TCRP only has the resources to represent less than one percent of the hundreds of prisoners who contact the organization each year for help.In most cases, before TCRP can provide a prisoner with "legal assistance", the prisoner MUST use the "grievance process" for the facility they are incarcerated in to comply with the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Before contacting TCRP, make sure to submit grievances that comply with the prison or jail’s policies, and file any required appeals.TDCJ Inmates need to complete a Step 1 and Step 2 grievance, being careful to follow TDCJ’s grievance rules. Only address the issue you want assistance with, as each grievance can only address one issue. Make sure to file your grievance within 15 days of the event you are complaining about, or as soon as possible. Consult your TDCJ Offender Handbook for more information about how to file a grievance. Family of TDCJ Inmates can also contact TDCJ’s Ombudsman. Speaking with the Ombudsman "does not" exhaust administrative remedies under the PLRA. If you wish to take legal action, you must also make sure Step 1 and Step 2 grievances have properly been filed in most cases.

Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook: The National Lawyers Guild together with the Center for Constitutional Rights distribute: The Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook: How to Bring a Federal Lawsuit to Challenge Violations of Your Rights in Prison. Please click here for more information.
Download Handbook

County Jails Inmates: Policies vary by county. Please consult your Inmate handbook for information about how to file a grievance. All county jails are inspected annually by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
Website: TCJS
Online Complaint Form:Complaint

Contacting the Commission does not exhaust administrative remedies under the PLRA. If you wish to take legal action, you must also make sure to follow the applicable policies in jail in most cases.

The Texas Youth Commission: Parents, Guardians, and Youth Advocates: There are several options to file a grievance. For children in TYC custody, grievance forms are available from the grievance clerk on each dorm. Request a form, complete it and place it in the secure drop box on the dorm. TYC has 15 days to respond to the grievance. Grievances can be submitted to TYC’s Incident Reporting Center. If TYC does not satisfactorily respond to the grievance within 15 business days, the grievance must be appealed. Ask the individual facility who grievance appeals should be addressed to. If the appeal does not resolve the problem within 15 business days, another appeal must be filed. A person can also contact the Office of the Independent Ombudsman, an independent watchdog agency supervising TYC. Speaking with the Ombudsman does not exhaust administrative remedies under the PLRA. If you wish to take legal action, you must also make sure the above described grievance procedures have been completed in most cases.

TCRP does not handle the following types of cases: Criminal defense, parole, family law (including child support, child custody, and divorce), immigration (except for Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Abuse, or “VAWA” cases), insurance issues, IRS and tax issues, or employment discrimination cases.

Correctional Institutions Division, Office of the Ombudsman
TDCJ-CID Office of the Ombudsman
P.O. Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
Office: (936) 437-6791
Fax: (936) 437-6668

The Office of Ombudsman is a central point of contact for the public and legislators to express concerns or to make inquiries regarding offenders or issues of concern. Assistance provided may be: answers to questions regarding specific offenders, responses to inquiries regarding policy and procedures, and referrals to the appropriate department within the Agency for assistance. Although telephone inquiries are accepted, it is best to submit concerns in writing.

For expediency, attempts should be made to resolve issues and obtain information at the unit level and through the offender grievance process; however, if that is not possible, or the inquiry does not concern issues at that level, contact the Office of the Ombudsman at the address above.

Investigations Department, Office of the Inspector General
Office of the Inspector General
Investigations Department
2503 Lake Rd. Suite 5
Huntsville, TX 77340
Office: (936) 437-5030
Fax: (936) 437-5138

The Office of the Inspector General investigates allegations of excessive/unnecessary use of force and harassment and retaliation of inmates for use of the legal system. The investigators focus their efforts on a variety of allegations of serious employee misconduct and criminal violations occurring on TDCJ property or authorized interests, including drug and contraband interdiction.

Offender Grievance Program
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Keith Clendennen, Program Specialist
PO Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342

Prisoner Grievance Pamphlet:Publications
El Programa de Quejas del Preso en Espańol:Spanish Version

All TDCJ offenders have access to the Offender Grievance Program to present written complaints related to their classification, personal property, disciplinary status, or other confinement issues within the agency’s control.
Request a form from TDCJ or follow the links above to access the forms online

Texas Commission on Jail Standards
P.O. Box 12985
Austin, TX 78711-2985
Office: (512) 463-5505 Website:Jail Standards
Online Complaint Form:Complaint

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) receives complaints involving inmates in county jails or private correctional facilities that house county inmates and/or out-of-state inmates. Inmates who have been sexually assaulted in any of the above types of facilities can contact the TCJS by phone, in writing by submitting a letter addressed to the Executive Director to the address above, or by completing the online complaint form to report the abuse and any concerns regarding the handling of investigations into such abuse. Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) facilities, city jails, juvenile facilities, and other privately operated facilities do not fall under the TCJS’ purview.

Complaints are handled by the TCJS complaint inspector and will be entered into the TCJS agency database and appropriately designated. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the complaint inspector will contact the facility either by telephone, email, fax or in person. Upon conclusion of the investigation, a written reply will be submitted to the original complainant with results of the investigation. If more than 10 business days have elapsed, you may contact TCJS by phone to check on the status of your complaint.

Texas Youth Commission, Office of the Independent Ombudsperson
6400 East Highway 290, Suite 202
Austin, TX 78723
Toll-free 24-hour Hotline/Línea Gratuita de 24 horas: (866) 477-8354
Youth Grievance Brochure:HELP Guía Para las Quejas de Jóvenes:HELP

The Office of the Independent Ombudsperson is a state agency established for the purpose of investigating, evaluating, and securing the rights of the children committed to the Texas Youth Commission, including a child released under supervision before final discharge.

To report non-emergency allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of TYC youth, contact the Office of the Independent Ombudsperson by mail, via the 24-hour hotline (operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Command Center), or by email. The email address is monitored Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm.

The hotline is free for youth in TYC facilities using the phones in their dorms.