TDCJfs Offender Grievance Program

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 Wardenfs 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.