Virginia Department of Corrections, Ombudsman Services Unit

The Ombudsman Services Unit serves adult prisoners in the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) and handles prisoner complaints that were not dealt with in a manner satisfactory to the prisoners at the institutional level. To file such a grievance, inmates must first show an effort to resolve the problem informally by filing a regular grievance form, usually available from floor officers. An Implementation Memorandum within each institution will say where these forms are available.

The Ombudsman Services Unit handles grievances that were denied at the lower level (including denied requests for transfer), or to request a change in institutional policy. If the grievance has been filed appropriately after the complainant (prisoner) has sought help at a less formal level, the Services Unit will review the grievance, investigate, and attempt to resolve the issue. Prisoners must write up a regular grievance form before being directed to a complaint appeal unit such as the Ombudsman Services Unit. Complaints are only taken in writing.