Dear [insert staff person’s title, e.g. Deputy Director, Superintendent, Lieutenant, CPM, etc.] [insert surname],
I am writing to express my concerns about a situation that occurred at [insert prison or community corrections facility name] on [insert date and approximate time].
[Describe in as concise and non-accusatory a manner possible what occurred. Try to do so in just a few sentences…expect that reader attention spans and patience will be limited. If you feel comfortable giving specific names of individuals involved, provide those, and if you do not, explain that you have concerns about confidentiality or retaliation. Some people like to explicitly request protection from retaliation in their email.]
[Do some research on DOC’s policy page or Mission & Vision page and see if you can find a policy or some kind of DOC official wording to support what you want to ask DOC to do. Model this paragraph after the following wording, using the exact policy number or website reference.] DOC Policy XXX.XXX states that “[insert direct quotation from authority document].” [Then explain how that quotation demonstrates what DOC policies and mission statements claim should be happening]. However, my experience in this situation demonstrates that [state what your individual experience reveals about what actually happens in practice]. I therefore propose the following remedy: [insert a suggestion about what staff might consider doing to address your concerns].
Thank you for your assistance in this matter. [Avoid groveling at WA DOC’s feet here, no matter how afraid you might be of retaliation or how powerless or scared you might feel. Be courteous, but don’t throw your dignity out the window. Stockholm Syndrome not only makes a person look easy to walk all over, but can also encourage WA DOC to further entrench itself in the complacent assumption that it need not consider the well-being, concerns, or wisdom of anyone it deems unimportant. One person’s obsequiousness in the present can contribute to undermining the well-being and dignity of all in their stakeholder group over time.] The best way to follow up with me is [give preferred time and method of contact].
[insert your name]