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General Laws

Section 38E. (a) The commissioner shall promulgate regulations to establish a fair, impartial, speedy and effective system for the resolution of grievances filed against the department, its officers or employees, by inmates who are committed to, held by or in the custody of the department in a state, county, or federal correctional facility, or the Massachusetts treatment center. The commissioner, in consultation with the county sheriffs, shall also promulgate regulations for the resolution of grievances filed against a county of the commonwealth, its officials or employees, by inmates who are committed to, held by, or in the custody of a county sheriff.

(b) A grievance system shall provide but not be limited to:

(1) specific maximum time limits for written replies to grievances with reasons for such replies at each decision level within the system;

(2) priority processing of grievances that are of an emergency nature, including matters in which delay would subject the petitioner to substantial risk of personal injury or other damages;

(3) safeguards to avoid reprisals against any petitioner or participant in the resolution of a grievance.

(c) Grievances that may be brought by inmates subject to the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) shall include all grievances arising out of or resulting from a condition of or occurrence during confinement, whether or not said grievance is presented in the form of petition for a writ of habeas corpus. A petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking only release from unlawful imprisonment or restraint and no other relief shall not be subject to the provisions of this section. All applicable statute of limitations and presentment periods shall be tolled from the date of the filing of a grievance pursuant to this section until the final administrative resolution of the grievance.

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