In writing your letter, you should give a clear chronological account of your difficulty, with an emphasis on the facts of the situation. Please see “What to include in your complaint” below for the information you should provide us.
Do not attach original documents to your letter. If you believe your complaint will be better understood by providing additional materials, only send us copies of the relevant documents. We are unable to return documents. We will not respond unless you send a cover letter directly to us explaining the problem and why the documents are important. The ACLU does not review material not addressed to us. Please do not send large amounts of documentation with your letter. If we need more information, we will contact you.
Depending upon the complexity and urgency of your matter, we will let you know within six weeks whether we can help you. If we cannot assist you, we will try to refer you elsewhere for help.What to include in your complaint
Describe in your own words what happened to you, including dates, places, and the names and titles of the people directly involved. These are the types of questions to keep in mind as you describe what happened:
- How were your rights violated?
- What explanation, if any, was given for what happened?
- Why do you think this happened to you?
- Have you taken any steps to resolve this issue? (For instance: filing a grievance, contacting another agency or organization, or going through an appeals process)
- If yes, where and what did you file, and what was the result?
- What would you like the ACLU to do concerning this matter?
- What documentation do you have on the matter? Please provide us a list of relevant documents or additional materials related to the incident, but do not send the materials themselves.
- Are you presently represented by an attorney in the matter you are writing about? Please note that if you have an attorney assisting you with this matter, and she or he believes there is a significant civil liberties issue involved, you must have your attorney contact us directly rather than contacting us yourself.
- If you are writing on behalf of another person, please provide the person's name. Also state your relationship to the person and provide any contact information you have for the person.
Be sure to include your name, mailing address, telephone and email address (if available) on the top of the first page of your letter. You must include a complete return address on your envelope or your letter will be discarded unopened.
If you are researching information for someone, like a prisoner, who will only be able to submit a complaint by mail, such as a prisoner, the complainant must provide their a name, mailing address, telephone and email address (if available) on the top of the first page of the letter. He or she should also answer the questions above and should not attach original documents to the letter. We are unable to return documents. We will not respond unless we receive a cover letter sent directly to us explaining the problem and why the supporting documents are might be considered important. The ACLU does not review material not addressed to us. If we need more information, we will contact the complainant. The envelope must contain a complete return address on the envelope, or the letter will be discarded unopened.
Mail your letter to:
Intake Mail Manager
P.O. Box 32159
Newark, NJ 07102
The ACLU of New Jersey maintains the confidentiality of all information we receive. We may wish to share this information with other legal organizations while investigating complaints, but we will always seek your permission before doing so.