The Ombuds serves as an impartial, neutral party who may investigate concerns/complaints submitted by citizens, individuals under Department jurisdiction, and their families if the issue was not satisfactorily resolved through available appeals processes.
Submit a Concern/Complaint
(Tim Kelly , DOC Communications)
The Ombuds serves as a resource for concerned citizens, individuals under Department jurisdiction, and their families to submit a concern/complaint of 1) Non-compliance of Department policies, Washington Administrative Code (WAC), and state or federal laws that have not been satisfactorily addressed through lower-level processes or appeals, and 2) The endangered health or safety of an individual under the jurisdiction of the Department or a visitor to a Department facility.
The Ombuds may also initiate an investigation for any reason including any concern/complaint received or perceived issue regarding the Department's procedures with impact to individuals under the Department's jurisdiction.
The Ombuds does not represent an additional step in the exhaustion process for the purposes of initiating litigation, or serve as a resource for employees, contract staff, or volunteers who should submit concerns/complaints through their chain of command per Department procedures.
Before Filing a Complaint
Individuals must attempt to resolve complaints at the lowest level possible (e.g., contact appropriate employees, grievance/appeal process) before submitting a concern/complaint to the Ombuds.
However, If an incarcerated individual is under imminent danger of serious physical injury or harm, and s/he believes the Department has not properly considered his/her emergency grievance, the complaint may be submitted to the Ombuds at the same time an emergency grievance appeal is submitted per DOC Policy 550.100 Offender Grievance Program.
How to Submit a Concern/Complaint
All concerns/complaints must be documented on the Ombuds Review Request form and submitted with any relevant documentation to the Ombuds. Department facilities will ensure the review request form is available in prison visit rooms and libraries, work release common areas, and field office waiting rooms.
Individuals in the Community
Individuals in the community may submit the appropriate form and relevant documentation by email or U.S. Mail.
Individuals Incarcerated in Department Prisons or Work Release Facilities
Individuals incarcerated in Department prison or work release facilities may only submit the appropriate form and relevant documentation by U.S. Mail. Mail to/from individuals house in Prison and the Ombuds will be processed as legal mail per DOC Policy 450.100 Mail for Prison Offenders and DOC Policy 450.110 Mail for Work Release Offenders.
Below are Department of Corrections (DOC) policies that apply to Ombuds.
- DOC Policy 140.500 Ombuds
- DOC Policy 280.510 Public Disclosure of Records
- DOC Policy 450.100 Mail for Prison Offenders
- DOC Policy 450.110 Mail for Work Release Offenders
- DOC Policy 550.100 Offender Grievance Program
Below are Department of Corrections (DOC) forms that apply to Ombuds.
- Ombuds Annual Report 100-RE001 (R 12/2017)