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Washington Lawyer's Committee - Guide to the Grievance Process for Sexual Abuse, 2013

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A PRISONER’S GUIDE TO THE GRIEVANCE PROCESS FOR
SEXUAL ABUSE
This Guide has been created by the D.C. Prisoners’ Project of the Washington Lawyers'
Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. It was last updated in June 2013.
It is not intended to replace the advice of an attorney. It is not legal advice and does not
create an attorney client relationship.

You are responsible for meeting all necessary deadlines and requirements.

This guide will help you complete the grievance process if you are a victim of sexual abuse in a
federal prison. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003 requires that the BOP have a
specific process for sexual abuse. You can read more about the grievance process relating to
issues of sexual abuse at BOP Program Statement §111.52(b) through 111.52(g). You can read
the full regulation about the BOP’s obligation for the detection, prevention, reduction, and
punishment of prison rape at Title 28 C.F.R Part 115.
Sexual abuse—
Sexual abuse of a prisoner by a prisoner happens when the victim does not agree to any of the
following, or they are forced to perform these acts through threats of violence:
(1) Any contact between the penis and the vaginal area, or penis and anus
(2) Contact between the mouth and the penis, vaginal area, or anus
(3) Inserting a finger or object into the anal or vaginal opening
(4) Any other intentional touching of a person’s private area, directly or through clothing
Sexual abuse of a prisoner by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer includes any of the above
acts, as well as:
(1) Any attempt, threat, or request by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer to engage
in sexual activity
(2) A staff member, contractor, or volunteer showing his or her naked private parts to a
prisoner
(3) Voyeurism by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer. (Voyeurism happens when
staff invades a prisoner’s privacy for reasons unrelated to official duties, such as
watching a prisoner go to the bathroom, asking a prisoner to undress, or taking pictures of
a naked prisoner)

(202) 775-0323 CLIENT LINE- COLLECT CALLS ACCEPTED

Sexual harassment includes repeated and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual
favors, or inappropriate comments, gestures, or actions
The grievance process for sexual abuse is different from the grievance process for other issues in
many important ways:
1. NO INFORMAL COMPLAINT
Start with filing a BP-9 (formal Administrative Remedy Request). You DO NOT have to file an
informal complaint (BP-8) or try to get help from prison staff first. The BOP has to make sure
that your BP-9 isn’t given to a prison staff member if they are the person who abused you.
2. NO TIME LIMIT TO START THE GRIEVANCE PROCESS
If you are sexually abused, you can file a grievance at any time, there is no deadline. You DO
NOT have to rush and file right after something happens. This rule relates only to the grievance
process (and not the statute of limitations, which varies by state). Once you start grieving, there
are time limits in place for when you file your BP-9, BP-10, and BP-11.
3. GETTING HELP FILING A GRIEVANCE
Other prisoners, staff members, family, attorneys, and outside advocates can help you file the
first level grievance (BP-9), or they can file a grievance for you. However, one must file the
remainder of the grievances (BP-10 and BP-11) yourself.
4. EMERGENCY SITUATIONS & SENSITIVE ISSUES
If you are at a serious risk of immediate sexual abuse, you must clearly write “Emergency” on
your BP-9 and explain the reason for the emergency. The local Administrative Remedy
Coordinator will then decide whether your situation is an emergency. If it is, the BOP will
respond within 48 hours and make a final decision within five days. If it they decide that it is not
an emergency, they will respond to your grievance using the regular time frames. If the BOP
doesn’t respond at all, it means they have denied your grievance.
You can also file “sensitive” grievances if you are sexually abused. This is only for very
sensitive issues where you believe that you will be in danger if anyone at the prison knew about
your situation. If this happens, you can skip Level 1 and send your grievance straight to the
Regional Director.
NOTE: If the BOP can prove that you filed your grievance in bad faith (you were dishonest), you
can be disciplined.

OVERVIEW OF THE GRIEVANCE PROCESS FOR SEXUAL ABUSE

Level 1
Administrative
Remedy Request

Level 2

Level 3

Appeal (BP-10)

Final Appeal (BP-

(BP-9)
• File Form BP-9 with the warden
(write whether it is an
"emergency")

• if the warden responded, you have
ONLY 20 days from the date on his
response to file your appeal

• skip Level 1 ONLY for "sensitive"
issues and go right to Level 2

• File Form BP-10 with the Regional
Director

• what next?
• if you are not happy with the
warden's response or they do not
respond within 20 days after getting
your BP-9, move on to Level 2

• give the Regional Director 30 days
to respond after they receive it (give
a few days for the mail)
• what next?
• if you are not happy with the
Regional Director's response or
they do not respond within 30
days after getting your BP-10,
move on to Level 3

11)
• if the Regional Director
responded, you have ONLY 30
days from the date on his letter to
submit your final appeal
• if you never got a letter from the
Regional Director, you have
ONLY 35 days from the date you
filed your BP-9 to submit your
final appeal
• File Form BP-11 with the General
Counsel
• You have now finished the
administrative grievance process
and can file in court

 

 

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