FDOC Grievance Procedure

Over the years, I’ve consulted with a number of inmates or their families who I believe had valid claims for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. I could not help these individuals because they were going to be in prison when the statute of limitations would run and they did not exhaust their administrative remedies.

It is a mandatory requirement to complete the grievance procedure. This requires following the rules for the initial grievance and appeals. There is no getting around this requirement. If you don’t exhaust your administrative remedies- a lawyer is not going to be able to help you. NO IFS ANDS OR BUTS.

I handle cases involving deliberate indifference related to a serious medical need, so I will explain the procedure.

You can bypass the informal grievance if your grievance is Medical. Don’t waste your time or energy filing an informal grievance.

Formal Grievance at the Institution Level

The grievance must be submitted within 15-days of the incident that leads to the grievance. For instance, if you go to the medical department and do not get the care and treatment that you need on January 1st – the grievance must be submitted on or before January 16th.

Make sure you keep a copy of your grievance and ask for a receipt or log number.

Here is the procedure. It must be followed completely.

  1. Fill out the identifying info at the top of the DC1-303 form. This is the same form that you used to file your formal grievance.
  2. In Part “A” fill out your grievance. If you need more space, you have to use attachment sheets instead of additional DC!-303 pages. Only two pages of attachments are allowed. Follow this rule strictly.
  3. Sign and date the form.
  4. Your writing has to be legible and each appeal can only address one complaint in each grievance.

If an inmate feels that his/her grievance was not adequately addressed at the institutional level, it can be appealed to the Office of the Secretary following the procedures set out in 33-103.007, FAC.

Here is the procedure. It must be followed completely.

  1. Fill out the identifying info at the top of the DC1-303 form. This is the same form that you used to file your formal grievance.
  2. In Part “A” fill out your grievance. If you need more space, you have to use attachment sheets instead of additional DC!-303 pages. Follow this rule strictly.
  3. Sign and date the form.
  4. Your writing has to be legible and each appeal can only address one complaint.
  5. Attach a copy of the formal grievance and the response. VERY IMPORTANT
  6. The appeal needs to be filed within 15 days of receipt of the warden’s or medical officer’s response to your formal grievance.
  7. Make sure you get a receipt of mailing for the appeal.

A better practice is to also get a copy of the appeal and supporting documents for your records.

I can’t tell you how many times grievance and appeals are missing or not able to be found.

Once you have gone though the formal grievance at the institutional level and then appealed the grievance to the Secretary of the DOC you have exhausted your administrative remedies.

If you fail to exhaust your administrative remedies, and you are still in prison when you file your lawsuit, you lawsuit will eventually be dismissed under the Prison Litigation Reform Act for failing to exhaust your administrative remedies.