Skip to main content

Independent Civilian Oversight Board for Review of Prisoners Grievances

WHEREAS, prisoners are expected to resolve issues through a biased grievance procedure, where prison officials are not even required to respond & are often encouraged not to give reasonable or rational responses; refuse to investigate & often investigate their own or coworkers/friends misconduct, while overwhelmingly denying any misconduct in the face of obvious evidence; refuse to hold staff accountable for the wrongful acts; regularly obstruct prisoner's complaint forms; and retaliate against prisoners for filing complaints; and

WHEREAS, prison and jail officials take advantage of the fact that many prisoners lack basic education, or have learning disabilities, or mental illness (these prisoners often being medicated). Prisoners are forced to continually endure retaliation, brutality, sexual abuse, undue pain & suffering and other abuses (including unhealthy & dangerous prison conditions and inadequate medical treatment in the face of serious life-threatening illnesses) while navigating the lengthy, biased and unfair prison grievance procedures; and

WHEREAS, prison and jail officials take advantage of the fact that many prisoners are unable to properly understand and comply with the myriad prison policies, nor are they able to properly navigate complicated Grievance Procedures while enduring these traumatic events along with an seemingly impossible task of learning even more complex legal procedures in weeks to defend against attorneys who have years of experience & education from law Schools.; and

WHEREAS, prison and jail officials take advantage of the fact most prisoners & their families are poor & unable to afford to hire private counsel & are often regularly denied requests for appointment of counsel by biased judges who favor prison and jail officials; and

WHEREAS, prisoners face expensive deterrents in financial hardships of court fees & legal expenses that take years to pay down leaving prisoners unable to afford even the most basic supplies to stay in contact with family & friends for years; and

WHEREAS, prison and jail officials have employed a strategy of denying and delaying the vast majority of legitimate grievances arbitrarily. In this way they are able to continue their abuses because most prisoners give up because: 1) they cannot afford the high cost of filing a lawsuit or hiring a private attorney, and 2) most prisoners do not have the education necessary to defend complex legal procedures & litigate pro se; and

WHEREAS, most prisoners desire and deserve a grievance procedure with some form of independent review, and fair remedies to eliminate abuses and unduly harsh conditions without fear of retaliation or extreme financial burdens.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") shall call upon all federal, state, and local officials & legislators for the immediate creation, adoption and implementation of an Independent Civilian Oversight Board for the Review of Prisoner Grievances, while independently holding abusive prison and jail officials accountable for their misconduct.