Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

Rules & Regulations

Inmate Grievance Program - Addition of Sections701.2(j) and 701.3(i); and amendment of section 701.8 of 7NYCRR

Date filed with the Department of State (DOS): 3/24/2017

DOS #: CCS-02-17-00004-A

Date adopted: 4/12/2017

Description: Use grievance program to report sexual abuse/harassment, ensuring that failure to file an inmate grievance in a timely manner will not be a bar to seek legal review.

TEXT OF RULE:

The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision proposes to amend 7NYCRR Part 701 as follows:

Add a new subparagraph (j) to Section 701.2.

(j) Definitions related to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment - The terms sexual abuse and sexual harassment shall have the definitions as set forth in the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Standards (28 C.F.R. § 115.06).

Add a new subparagraph (i) to Section 701.3.

(i) Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment Complaints. The Department has zero tolerance for sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Consistent with this policy and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Standards (28 C.F.R. 115.52(a)), an inmate is not required to file a grievance concerning an alleged incident of sexual abuse or sexual harassment to satisfy the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) exhaustion requirement (42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a)) before bringing a lawsuit regarding an allegation of sexual abuse as long as the matter was reported as set forth below. For purposes of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Standards (28 C.F.R. § 115.52) and the exhaustion requirement, any allegation concerning an incident of sexual abuse or sexual harassment (See, Departmental Directives #4027A Sexual Abuse Prevention & Intervention - Inmate-on-Inmate and #4028A Sexual Abuse Prevention & Intervention - Staff-on-Inmate) shall be deemed exhausted if official documentation confirms that:

(1) an inmate who alleges being the victim of sexual abuse or sexual harassment reported the incident to facility staff; in writing to Central Office Staff; to any outside agency that the Department has identified as having agreed to receive and immediately forward inmate reports of sexual abuse and sexual harassment to agency officials under the PREA Standards (28 C.F.R. § 115.51(b)); or to the Departments Office of the Inspector General; or

(2) a third party reported that an inmate is the victim of sexual abuse and the alleged victim confirmed the allegation upon investigation.
A sexual abuse or sexual harassment complaint may be submitted at any time, however, a timely complaint is essential to providing services and proper investigation. Acceptance of a late complaint does not waive the applicable statute of limitations with respect to any related lawsuit.

A sexual abuse or sexual harassment complaint may be submitted at any time, however, a timely complaint is essential to providing services and proper investigation. Acceptance of a late complaint does not waive the applicable statute of limitations with respect to any related lawsuit.

Any inmate grievance filed regarding a complaint of sexual abuse or sexual harassment shall immediately be reported by the IGP Supervisor to the Watch Commander for further handling in accordance with Departmental policies. The complaint shall be deemed exhausted upon filing for PLRA purposes. If the grievance does not set forth any additional matters that require a response, the grievance shall be closed.

Add a new Note, at the end of the first paragraph, to Title 7NYCRR Section 701.8

Allegations of employee harassment are of particular concern to the administrators of department facilities. Therefore, the following expedited procedure for the review of grievances alleging harassment shall be followed. Note: Grievances alleging sexual harassment shall be reported to the Watch Commander for further handling in accordance with Departmental policies and shall be deemed exhausted upon filing for PLRA purposes.

Changes in the proposed text are indicated by underlining new text and [bracketing] text to be deleted. Rules that are new are presented as regular text without underlining or brackets. New and/or repealed rules are noted in the description heading at the top of the document.

The complete listing of New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (NYCRR) is available online through the NYS Department of State website.