There are two ways to get to the federal minimum security prison camp. One, escorted by US marshals in custody on remand and two, on his own recognition, which is known as self-surrender. Self-delivery is by far the more desirable of the two. If you hope to get to the federal minimum security prison camp through pretrial custody, you will be detained immediately after your sentence. Thereafter, prepare for an awkward few weeks or months before arriving at the designated federal prison camp. If you have been given the opportunity to surrender to the Federal Prison Camp, the judge has done you a favor for which you should be very grateful and make the most of it.
If you are detained on remand by the United States Marshals at the time of your sentencing, you will spend several weeks or even months in city and county detention centers, transfer centers, and jails before you finally reach the camp. Federal designated minimum security prisoners. You will be transported between these institutions and finally to the federal prison camp free of charge courtesy of the United States Marshals. By all accounts, federal inmate transportation is extremely cumbersome, time consuming, and tedious.
There are two factors that make pretrial custody in the minimum security federal prison camp particularly unpleasant. First, inmates of all security levels are transported together. This means that security is maintained at the highest level. Even though you are heading to a federal prison camp, you will be treated as an inmate of a federal maximum security prison camp.
Your wrists will be handcuffed in front of you, while leg shackles will prevent more than a slow walk. A chain connecting the handcuffs and leg shackles will further limit their movement. During the transport process, which takes place in vans, buses and airplanes (which many prisoners affectionately call Con Air), the shackles and handcuffs are not removed, even when it is necessary to go to the bathroom.
Armed with shotguns, the Marshals worry about one thing and one thing only, getting you from point A to point B and finally to your Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp. As you can imagine, the mood during this process, both among inmates, recently sentenced to the Federal Prison Camp, and among the Marshals charged with ensuring security during the trip to the Federal Minimum Security Prison Camp, is quite serious.
Second, there is absolutely no rush to get you to your designated minimum security federal prison camp. You will be transported at the convenience and according to US Marshals schedules.This, coupled with the fact that the US Marshal’s policy allows transportation during the day, just means that relatively short distances can take weeks or even months to travel.
The entire process of checking in and out of various facilities and sitting in shackles in vans, buses, and planes can be exhausting, so much so that inmates commonly refer to the test as diesel therapy. For the first time ever an inmate in the federal prison camp, diesel therapy will serve to teach a valuable lesson. The BOP has little interest in your privacy, convenience, and comfort.
Self-surrender to the minimum security federal prison camp is a luxury accorded to those who are deemed by the court to be without flight risk and pose no threat to the community. If you are lucky enough to be allowed self-surrender, after your sentence, you will spend the next one to six months at home, awaiting your designation as a minimum security federal prison camp.
Whether you’ve been told to expect a letter of appointment or not, I recommend that you call the US Marshals office at the court where you were sentenced to request updates on the status of the appointment. It is your responsibility to report to the Federal Minimum Security Prison Camp on the specified date and time. Failure to show up puts you in a fugitive state with serious consequences.
In my case, they told me to wait for a letter, which never arrived. Fortunately, I contacted the US Marshals office by phone, and eventually they gave me my designation over the phone. The details of your designation will include the name of the Federal Minimum Security Prison Camp, the time and date it will be released, and the address and telephone number of the Federal Prison Camp.
The U.S. Marshals will also be able to tell you your new eight-digit BOP registration number, which must be listed to receive funds in your Federal Prison Camp account and to receive mail.
A few words about the location of your federal prison camp designation. A recommendation from the sentencing judge that you be sent to a certain prison is just that, a recommendation. The BOP has no obligation to comply. Additionally, the BOP states that they make an effort to locate an inmate within 500 miles of his family. This effort is not always successful. In my case, I was assigned to a federal prison more than 2,000 miles from my home.
While my medical history dictated that I be sent to a Federal Medical Center rather than a Federal Minimum Security Prison Camp, there were two other such facilities within a 500 mile radius. For whatever reason, neither of them was sent to me. If you are away from home, you will eventually be able to move to a prison closer to your friends and family. But it is not going to happen quickly and you must be prepared for this eventuality.