2021 Special Session I

Budget Amendments - HB1800 (Conference Report)

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Review Establishment of DOC Ombudsman (language only)

Item 391 #1c

Item 391 #1c

Public Safety and Homeland Security
Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security


Page 471, after line 13, insert:

"G. The Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security shall assess the need for, potential benefits and feasibility of implementing, and staffing and other associated costs of establishing an Office of the Ombudsman within the Department of Corrections. The Secretary shall identify the staffing and associated costs necessary for the Ombudsman to, at a minimum, (i) provide information to inmates and family members, DOC employees and contractors, and others regarding the rights of inmates; (ii) monitor the conditions of confinement; (iii) provide technical assistance to support inmate participation in self-advocacy; (iv) provide technical assistance to local governments in the creation of correctional facility oversight bodies; (v) establish a statewide uniform reporting system to collect and analyze data related to complaints received by the Department of Corrections; (vi) gather stakeholder inputs into the Office of the Ombudsman's activities and priorities; (vii) inspect each state correctional facility at least once every three years, and at least once every year for maximum security facilities; (viii) publicly provide facility inspection reports; (ix) conduct investigations of complaints made by inmates, family members, and advocates; and (x) the efficacy of expanding alternative methods of oversight to include the direct oversight of the Department by the Board of Local and Regional Jails or similar entity. In conducting this assessment, the Secretary shall consult with representatives of social justice or civil rights organizations, advocates for inmates or the families of inmates, national experts or similar ombudsmen and correctional oversight offices and programs in other states, and other stakeholders identified by the Secretary. The Secretary shall develop a report of the findings and shall provide such report detailing the findings to the Chairs of the House Public Safety, House Appropriations, Senate Judiciary, and Senate Finance and Appropriations Committees no later than December 1, 2021."


(This amendment directs the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to assess the costs of establishing an Office of the Department of Corrections Ombudsman.)