Legislative Corrections Ombudsman

Meet the Staff | Prison Locator | Frequently Asked Questions | Contact LCO

Legislative Corrections Ombudsman
Boji Tower - 4th floor
124 West Allegan St.
PO Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
(517) 373-8573
(517) 373-5550 fax


Welcome to webpages for the Office of Legislative Corrections Ombudsman (LCO). It is our hope that this website will be useful in helping to find out what we do, provide information about how to file a complaint, find a Michigan prison, access useful links and meet our staff.

The Office of Legislative Corrections Ombudsman was created in 1975 by Public Act 46. The authority for the agency can be found in Michigan Compiled Laws 4.351 - 4.364. LCO is a nonpartisan legislative agency responsible for investigating complaints regarding the state prison system filed with LCO by Legislators, prisoners, family members and MDOC staff that are alleged to be a violation of state law or Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) policy, a significant health or safety issue, and other matters for which there is no effective administrative remedy. Our staff visit correctional facilities on a regular basis, interacting with the prisoner population and MDOC institutional staff. We also monitor tensions and conditions within the prison system, keeping the Michigan Legislature apprised of significant events.

LCO has complete access to all MDOC facilities, records and documents in the possession of the MDOC. We attempt to obtain the facts surrounding an allegation and complete a comparative analysis of the allegation, facts and relevant MDOC policy, procedure or statute. It is our goal to attempt to resolve complaints, when substantiated, at the lowest level possible within MDOC, identify and recommend corrective action for systemic issues, and keep the Legislature informed of relevant issues regarding Michigan’s corrections system.

Our mission to the Legislature, ability to obtain, interpret and explain MDOC policy/procedures and our knowledge of the system uniquely positions the Ombudsman Office to serve the Legislature and citizens of Michigan.

Thank you for visiting our website.

Mission Statement

The Legislative Corrections Ombudsman is committed to assisting Michigan Legislators and their constituents with investigating, resolving and responding to complaints regarding the State Corrections system, providing impartial information and advice related to Corrections issues, and offering guidance for proposed legislation affecting Corrections matters.

LCO serves the Legislature and the public by keeping informed of current Corrections issues, practices and trends, attempting to resolve issues when warranted by the facts, and communicating information to assist in their interactions with the Corrections system. We are committed to supplying unbiased, factual information to enable informed decisions impacting Corrections issues. We are committed to supplying unbiased, factual information to enable informed decisions impacting Corrections issues.

How to File a Complaint

Statute grants the Ombudsman authority to investigate administrative actions of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) that are alleged to be contrary to law or Department policy. Except for significant health and safety issues, statute directs complainants to complete all administrative remedies available before the Ombudsman begins an investigation of the issue. The grievance procedure and the rehearing process for Class I are the two administrative remedies available to prisoners and parolees.

Before submitting a written grievance, MDOC policy states that a grievant must attempt to resolve the issue with the staff member involved. If they are unable to resolve it at that point, the issue can be pursued through the prisoner grievance procedure. More information about grievances can be found in Policy Directive 03.02.130. The grievance process is a prisoner process, which means that family members and friends may not file on behalf of the prisoner.

Once you have completed the grievance procedure through all 3 steps, you may send the grievances, all attachments, and the MDOC responses, to the Ombudsman’s office for review, if your complaint was not resolved by the grievance.

Prisoner’s friends and family can file a complaint with the Ombudsman office by simply calling or sending an email. However, it is office policy that we usually need to hear directly from the prisoner involved in the complaint before we can begin an investigation. As a result, we may advise you to have the prisoner send a letter of complaint directly to our office.

Statute Information

The Michigan Legislature established the Office of Legislative Corrections Ombudsman within the Legislative Council in 1975 following several prison riots throughout the country in the late 60's and early 70's. The Legislature wanted its own nonpartisan agency to investigate issues affecting the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), prisoners and Corrections staff.

The authority for the Legislative Corrections Ombudsman can be found
in Public Act 46 of 1975 and Michigan Compiled Laws sections 4.351 through 4.364

As a result of investigations, the Ombudsman makes recommendations to the MDOC when a concern is identified. The Ombudsman also makes recommendations to the Legislature, concerning changes to existing laws or suggestions for new laws whenever relevant. The Ombudsman is responsible for submitting an annual report regarding the conduct of the office to the Legislative Council and the Michigan Legislature.

Related Links

Correction Information

Crime Victims Prisoners Parole Process Visitors

Confidentiality Statement

All information presented to the Ombudsman is confidential except as far as disclosure of specific information is necessary to enable the Ombudsman to perform the duties of the office and to support any recommendations resulting from an investigation.

Based on the law that created the office, all documents and information obtained during an investigation is considered confidential, therefore we do not provide copies to prisoners, family members, attorneys, or any other outside party.

Correspondence between a prisoner/parolee and the Ombudsman is also confidential and must be processed as privileged correspondence in the same manner as letters between prisoners and courts, attorneys, or public officials. Prisoners/parolees are not to be penalized in any way by an official or the department for filing a complaint, complaining to a Legislator, or cooperating with the Ombudsman in an investigation.