Lesson 6: Staff Hierarchy And Administrative Remedy

Course Description:

Defendants who anticipate a journey through prison will want to understand the staff hierarchy and administrative remedy process. Prior to learning that authorities were targeting him for a prosecution, a defendant may not have had any concerns about a prison staff hierarchy. After all, prior to the prosecution, the individual never even anticipated that he would become a defendant. The concept of prison never crossed his mind. Yet once an individual becomes a defendant in a felony case, the possibility of a prison term becomes real. As such, understanding the staff hierarchy will go a long ways toward minimizing exposure to further problems in the unknown world of prison.

Prisons differ from any other culture in the United States. The people who become part of a prison’s staff hierarchy proceed through intensive training. That training conditions staff members to view the people who serve time from a cynical perspective. The staff members concern themselves primarily with “preserving security of the institution.” As such, everyone within the prison’s staff hierarchy is a “correctional officer first,” as prisoners frequently hear. Such culture comes with implications. Once a defendant becomes an “inmate,” he becomes vulnerable to the decisions of every officer in the staff hierarchy. As such, individuals will want to understand that staff hierarchy to minimize exposure to problems.

Since inmates are vulnerable to decisions by every officer in the staff hierarchy, they prepare themselves well when they know how to respond when decisions go against them. As such, understanding the administrative remedy process is essential.

This lesson provides readers with a description of how the administrative remedy process operates. Inmates must consider timelines and all of the intricacies of this system that many describe as being part of a “kangaroo court.” Yet proceeding through the administrative remedy process is essential for those who want to pursue claims against the BOP and individuals within the staff hierarchy in court. This lesson provides the background individuals will need to understand both the staff hierarchy and the administrative remedy process.