The purpose of this chapter is to afford inmates in institutions a process by which grievances may be expeditiously raised, investigated, and decided.
The inmate complaint review system serves the following objectives:
To allow inmates to raise in an orderly fashion issues regarding department policies, rules, living conditions, and employee actions that personally affect the inmate or institution environment, including civil rights claims.
To provide the department an opportunity to resolve the issue before an inmate commences a civil action or special proceeding.
To review and explain correctional policy or practice to inmates and employees.
To identify errors and deficiencies in correctional policy or practice.
DOC 310.01 History
History: CR 16-054: cr., Register March 2018, No. 747, eff. 4-1-18. DOC 310.02(1)(1)
This chapter applies to all inmates in the department's legal custody.
Inmates may file complaints with the department for matters under the department's authority.
Inmates housed in other jurisdictions are required to file complaints with that jurisdiction for all matters under that jurisdiction's control.
DOC 310.02 History
History: CR 16-054: cr., Register March 2018, No. 747, eff. 4-1-18. DOC 310.03
DOC 310.03 Definitions.
In this chapter:
“Calendar year” means 12 calendar months beginning January 1 and ending December 31.
“Complaint record” means ICRS forms and evidence compiled in connection with an ICRS complaint by the ICE or CCE.
“Corrections complaint examiner” or “CCE” means the employee of the department who is designated by the secretary to process and review complaints appealed to the secretary.
“Days" means all calendar days including Saturdays, Sundays, and state legal holidays.
“Department” means the department of corrections.
“Division” means the division of adult institutions.
“Employee” means any staff member, an employee of a contract agency, an independent contractor, or a volunteer of the department or an institution.
“Good cause” means substantial grounds, justification, or reason to take a certain action as determined by the examiner.
“Inmate complaint review system” or “ICRS” means the process by which complaints filed by inmates of adult correctional institutions are investigated and resolved.
“Institution” means a correctional institution or correctional facility defined under s. 302.01
“Institution complaint examiner” or “ICE” means the person or persons at each institution designated by the warden to process, investigate, and make recommendations on complaints filed under this chapter.
“Reviewing authority” means a person who is authorized to review and decide an inmate complaint.
“Secretary” means the secretary of the department or designee.
“Staff member” or “staff” means a person employed by the department as a permanent, project, or limited term employee.
“Warden” means the warden, superintendent, or designee.
DOC 310.03 History
History: CR 16-054: cr., Register March 2018, No. 747, eff. 4-1-18; correction in (20) made under s. 35.17, Stats, Register March 2018, No. 747. DOC 310.04
DOC 310.04 Inmate complaint review system. DOC 310.04(1)(1)
The department shall maintain an inmate complaint review system that shall be accessible to all inmates in institutions. The department shall do all of the following:
Provide access to written notification of the complaint procedures to inmates.
Provide each inmate written or oral explanation of the complaint procedures.
Provide an inmate the opportunity to ask and have questions answered relating to the complaint procedure.
Not subject an inmate to retaliation for participation in the ICRS.
Allow an inmate to pursue a complaint of retaliation through the ICRS.
Inappropriate use of the ICRS per 310.07 (4) may be subject to discipline under ch. DOC 303
The warden shall designate an employee to function as an institution complaint examiner or to assist in the process.
DOC 310.04 History
History: CR 16-054: cr., Register March 2018, No. 747, eff. 4-1-18. DOC 310.05
DOC 310.05 Exhaustion of administrative remedies.
Before an inmate may commence a civil action or special proceedings, the inmate shall exhaust all administrative remedies the department has promulgated by rule.
DOC 310.05 History
History: CR 16-054: cr., Register March 2018, No. 747, eff. 4-1-18. DOC 310.06
DOC 310.06 Scope of complaint review system. DOC 310.06(1)(1)
An inmate may use the ICRS to raise issues regarding policies, rules, living conditions, or employee actions that personally affect the inmate or institution environment.
An inmate may raise issues, including civil rights claims, through the ICRS regarding classification, disciplinary actions, administrative confinement, or request for qualified leave, and decisions regarding requests to authorize new religious practice or religious property only after exhausting any of the following, as appropriate:
A review process designated by the department for the request of new religious practice or property.
An inmate may not use the ICRS to challenge any of the following:
DOC 310.06 History
History: CR 16-054: cr., Register March 2018, No. 747, eff. 4-1-18; correction in (3) (a) made under s. 35.17, Stats., Register March 2018 No. 747. DOC 310.07(1)
Prior to filing a formal complaint, an inmate shall attempt to resolve the issue by following the designated process specific to the subject of the complaint. The ICE may request inmates to provide evidence of having followed the specified process.
An inmate shall file a complaint within 14 days after the occurrence giving rise to the complaint. At the discretion of the ICE, a late complaint may be accepted for good cause. An inmate shall request to file a late complaint in the written complaint and explicitly provide the reason for the late filing.
Each complaint shall meet all of the following requirements:
Be submitted on a complaint form provided by the department.
Be filed only under the name by which the inmate was committed to the department or the legal name granted by a court.
Provide relevant supporting documentation, which may be accepted at the discretion of the ICE.
A complaint will not be processed and a referral for disciplinary action may occur in accordance with ch. DOC 303
if the complaint contains any of the following:
Obscene, profane, abusive, or threatening language unless such language is necessary to describe the factual basis of the complaint.
Each complaint may contain only one clearly identified issue.
A complaint must contain sufficient information for the department to investigate and decide the complaint.
An inmate may not file more than one complaint per calendar week except that any of the following are not subject to the filing restrictions contained in this paragraph:
Complaints regarding the inmate's health and personal safety.