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How to Adjust to Federal Prison Life

Updated on July 15, 2015
Robert Warney profile image

Robert Warney is on the Board of Advisors for Federal Prison Consultants and Justice Solutions of America,Inc. Author of Ties-2-Stripes book


Federal Prison Sentences

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Surviving Federal Prison

After completing this phase, you will know the basics on how to ADJUST to Federal Prison Life.

This phase will teach you how to:

  • Comprehend: Daily Inmate Life, Security Procedures, and Maintaining Outside Contacts
  • Establish: New Goals for the first 48 hours, 1st 100 days, and One Year and Beyond
  • Accomplish: Pre-Release Courses, Early Release Courses, and Fitness/Health programs


Your average daily life will consist of the following activities:

Wake Up

General wake up for you is usually 6:00 A.M. on weekdays. At Low, Medium, and high security levels automatic lights will usually come on inside the housing unit or cells. At minimum security levels there won’t be automatic lights.


Inspections of your living quarters may occur on a daily basis. You are responsible for making your bed in accordance with regulation (6” collar) “military style”. Most of the institutions require that your bed will be made prior to 7:30 A.M. and 10 A.M. on weekends and Federal Holidays. You are responsible for sweeping and mopping your personal living area, removing trash, and insuring it is in clean and neat order. Cleaning materials including brooms and mops are usually available for use in each housing unit. All of your personal articles should be arranged in an orderly fashion. No clothing shall be placed on the windows, windowsills, or on top of the lockers or desks. Some standard rules regarding sanitation include:

· All trash must be cleared and removed from living area trash cans by 7:30 A.M. daily and disposed of in designated garbage areas.

· Desktops must be cleaned daily

· There should be no provocative pictures posted

· Coats should be placed in your personal locker or on hooks

· Shoes must be placed under beds neatly

· No clothing should be hanging from beds, or from sides of lockers

· Do not have excessive linen or extra mattresses

· Do not leave open food items around

Personal hygiene

· Must maintain a neat and clean appearance.

· No limit on hair length

· Mustaches and Beard ok

· No Hairpieces

Sample Living Quarter Sanitation Report

At a Minimum Security Level-conducted weekly

Based on Points. Your goal is to have 0 points.

Issue --------------------------- Points

Dirt on desk, locker, and credenza*1

Bed not made *1

Trash in can *1

Floor Dirty *1

Items on locker, windowsill *1

Unlabeled cleaning supplies *2

Blocked vents *2

Excessive linen/mattress *2

Excessive Personal Property *2

Food Service Food in living area *3

*if you have 3 or more points two weeks in a row will be moved to “overflow” (where one room typically has 15 beds –5 triple bunk style beds-NOT desirable) from your current living quarters. Incident report may also occur.

Personal Property Limits- Make sure you learn these limits

For security, safety, and sanitation reasons, the Bureau limits the amount of property (jewelry, photographs, books, magazines, etc.) inmates may have and the types of publications inmates can receive. The institution issues clothing, hygiene items, and bedding; and provides laundry services. Inmates may purchase other personal care items, shoes, some recreational clothing, and some food items through the commissary. Civilian clothing (i.e., clothing not issued to the inmate by the Bureau or purchased by the inmate from the commissary) ordinarily is not authorized for retention by the inmate.

Inmates may only possess those items they are authorized to retain upon admission to the institution, items issued by authorized staff, items purchased by the inmate from the commissary, or items purchased or received through approved channels (to include that approved for receipt by an authorized staff member or authorized by institution guidelines). All other items are considered contraband and will be seized and disposed of (destroyed, mailed out of the institution at the inmate's expense, etc.) in accordance with Bureau regulations. Contraband that threatens the security of the institution may result in disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution for the inmate.

Quarter Rules will usually be posted in the Living Unit

Sample taken from Minimum Security:

· No Personal items hung from showers, light fixtures or sprinkler heads

· Not allowed in showers during count times

· Only three inmates allowed in one living quarter at a time

· No visiting other housing units

· All doors and windows are not authorized to be covered with any items

· No smoking or use of any tobacco related products

· You may place cards and approved games in assigned areas and not in living quarters

· Homemade antennas and speakers not allowed

· No marking of chairs, wall or beds

Dress Code

Usually 6:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. M-F excluding Federal holidays you must be dressed in the authorized uniform during normal working hours. Shirts MUST be tucked in and your Inmate ID Account Card worn in the designated holder and displayed on the outside of your shirt. Anytime on the compound, at work, the Chapel, or Dining areas your shirt must be tucked in. All buttons of the shirt must be buttoned except for the top button.

Sweat shirts/Shirts must be worn underneath the institution shirt. No mix and matching institutional and personal clothing. No alterations of institutional and/or personal clothing is permitted. Labels are issued by the institution laundry and they must be kept on all institution shirts, pants, and coats. Usually minimum security colors are green shirts and Kakies- with pockets and no labels, Low, Medium, and High are brown shirts and kakies-No pockets and labels.

During the Day Authorized Uniform Required

M-F 6:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. *Yes

M-F after 4:00 P.M. *No

Weekends & Federal Holidays *No

In Recreation Yard *No

Visits *Yes

Security Level -I D Card Worn - Color - Pockets- Shirt Tucked In - Labels

Minimum- Yes *Green *Yes *Yes* No

Low- Yes* Brown *No *Yes *Yes

Medium-Yes* Brown *No *Yes* Yes

High- Yes *Brown*No *Yes *Yes


There are usually three meals served per day. Lunch is usually the biggest and best meal of the day. The Meal Schedule for Food services is:

Monday Through Friday Time

Continental Breakfast 6:00 A.M. until closing (7 A.M.)

Lunch 10:30 A.M. until closing (11:30 A.M.)

Dinner After 4:00 P.M. count until closing

Sometimes short line 3:00 P.M.

Weekends & Federal Holidays Time

Continental Breakfast 7:00 A.M. until closing (8 A.M.)

Brunch 11:00 A.M. until closing (12 A.M.)

Dinner After 4:00 P.M. count until closing

Dining Room Dress Code

M-F Breakfast & Lunch- clean institution trousers,shirt,socks,belt, and shoes, shirt tucked in, and no hats.

Weekends, Federal holiday before or after work hours leisure attire is usually permitted. No tank tops, sleeveless shirts,cutoffs,and no dirty attire. Shoes with socks must be worn. No Shower shoes.

Other Do Not’s in Dining Hall:

· No weight belts

· Plastic containers

· Coffee cups

· Laundry bags

· Books

· Radios

· Newspapers

· Plastic bags

· Jumping in line

· Try to receive more than one meal

· Re-enter after leaving

· Take food out

The meals are based on the National Menu developed by the Central Office National Food and Farm Administrator. Changes to this menu will be considered on each fiscal year based on food preference surveys compiled at each institution.

There are usually three daily food options offered:

· Regular Food option 2501 calories

· Heart and Healthy option 1914 calories

· No-Flesh option 2112 calories


You will be required to work if you are medically able. Institution work assignments include: food service, warehouse, orderly, plumber, painter, or groundskeeper. You will earn 12¢ to 40¢ per hour for these work assignments.

The four hourly Institution rate levels are:

· Grade 1 $.40/hr

· Grade 2 $.22/hr

· Grade 3 $.17/hr

· Grade 4 $.12/hr

UNICOR- Federal Prison Industry Jobs

Federal Prison Industries (commonly referred to as FPI or by its trade name UNICOR) is a wholly owned, Government corporation established by Congress on June 23, 1934. Its mission is to employ and provide job skills training to the greatest practicable number of inmates confined within the Federal Bureau of Prisons; contribute to the safety and security of our Nation’s Federal correctional facilities by keeping inmates constructively occupied; produce market-priced quality goods and services for sale to the Federal Government; operate in a self-sustaining manner; and minimize FPI’s impact on private business and labor.

Approximately 16% of work-eligible inmates work in FPI factories. They gain marketable job skills while working in factory operations, such as metals, furniture, electronics, textiles, and graphic arts. FPI work assignments pay from 23¢ to $1.15 per hour. A high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate is required for all work assignments above entry level (lowest pay level) in either institution or FPI jobs.

The Inmate Financial Responsibility Program (IFRP) requires inmates to make payments from their earnings to satisfy court-ordered fines, victim restitution, child support, and other monetary judgments. Some inmates are assessed a Cost of Incarceration Fee, which is collected under the IFRP. Inmates working in FPI who have financial obligations must pay 50% of their earnings to the IFRP. Most fine and restitution money goes to crime victims or victim support groups through the Crime Victims Fund administered by the Office for Victims of Crime in the Department of Justice. Other jobs usually required to pay $25/quarter.

Performance Evaluations:

· Usually occur semi-annually

Job Changes:

· Usually Unit team makes you wait at least 90 days to change jobs.

· Counselor usually assists with job assignments.

Recent recent BOP Statistics:

Percentage of Grade Work Assignments at the Institution:

Grade One: $.40/hr= 5%

Grade Two: $.22/hr= 15%

Grade Three: $.17/hr= 25%

Grade Four: $.12/hr= 55%

You may get the day off work for your religious holiday by submitting the Annual Work Proscription Election form to your Chaplin/Counselor for approval:


Take advantage of your recreational opportunities.

You usually have every opportunity to participate in either physical or non physical activity. Many Low, Medium, and High Security levels have a Gymnasium, Outside Recreation Yard and Leisure Center. Most Minimums have indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities on a more limited basis and don’t have a Gymnasium. Many institutions have free weights both on the inside of and outside. Most activities are paid for by profits earned from inmates use of the phone, email, and commissary.

Most Institutions have organized and informal sports and fitness activities that include:

· Basketball

· Softball

· Volleyball

· Flag Football

· Jogging/walking paths

· Bocce Ball

· Soccer

· Horseshoes

· Handball/racquetball

Table Games Include:

· Billiards

· Table tennis

· Foosball

· Checkers

· Chess

· Backgammon

· Monopoly

· Trivial pursuit

· Dominos

Popular Card Games Include:

· Spades

· Rummy

· Gin

· Bridge

· Poker

Most games are available to be checked out of the recreation department.

Some of the weights include:

· Free weights

· Dumb bells

· Inclined bench

· Flat bench

· Pull-up bars

· Elliptical

· Tread mills

· Stationary bikes

· Ab roller

· Medicine balls

· Jump rope


Music Program:

· Guitars

· Trombone

· Saxophone

Arts and Hobby

· Paintings

· Sketches

· Oils, pastels, crayons, pencils, inks, charcoal

· Cards

· Toys for children

· Clothing

· Ceramics

· Leather work

· Wood working

· Crochet

· Knitting

· Sculptures

· Mosaics

Leisure Library

· Top magazines: People, US, Road & Track, SI

· Newspapers: USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily

· Books


· Basic Satellite Stations


· Spanish Network


Law Library

· Library terminals that provide access to : legal materials, limited case information, and most BOP policies. Use the Law Library terminal to reference the many policy statements that are used throughout this book.

· Law Dictionaries

Your plan should include keeping active and busy. You should get in a good daily routine and keep your living quarters neat and within property limits. Make the most of your free time!

Lights Out in Sleeping Areas

Usually: After 10:00 P.M. count

Minimum : 11:30 P.M. and later

Low: 11:00 P.M.

Medium/High 10:00 P.M. in cell

Usual schedules for TV's in Unit:

Minimum: Weekends: 24 hours. Weekdays 11:00 P.M. (usually 24hrs)

Low : 11:00 P.M. all days

Medium and High : 9:45 P.M. all days

Security Procedures

The three most important security procedures are counts, lockdowns, and controlled movements. It is also important to understand policies relating to contraband, search, and drug/alcohol testing.


There are typically three types of counts:

· Stand Up

· Regular

· Census

Stand Up

· Usually conducted M-F at 4:00 P.M. and 10:00 P.M.

· Weekends/ Federal Holidays same as M-F plus 10:00 A.M.

· Be in assigned living quarter and be standing up

· No movement or talking

Regular Counts

· Usually conducted every day at 12:00 midnight, 2:30 A.M., and 5 A.M.

· Be in assigned living quarter but typically do not have to be standing

· No movement or talking

Census Counts

· Usually conducted every weekday at 8:00 A.M. and 12:45 P.M.

· Be in assigned living quarter but typically do not have to be standing

· No movement or talking

Recap of Counts conducted in your living quarter

Type - Times - Stand - Movement/Talking

Stand –Up *M-F 4 & 10 P.M. plus 10 A.M. Weekends/Fed Holidays *Yes *No

Regular -*12 Midnight, 2:30 A.M., 5:00 A.M. *No*No

Census -*M-F 8 A.M., 12:45 P.M. *No *No

Lock down

You are called back to your assigned living quarter or work area and must stay there until cleared by staff. At Minimum and Low security levels you must remain in your living quarters until the lock down is cleared. At Medium and High levels you must typically return to your cell to be locked down. Usually by 10:00 P.M. every night you will be locked down for counts until the morning. Lock downs may occur at any time.

Controlled Movements

Most institution security levels have controlled movements. Usually the only security level without these movements is a minimum security level. Controlled movements are regulated movements throughout the institution. They typically begin on the half hour typically at 7:30 A.M., 8:30 A.M., 9:30 A.M. and begin every half hour thereafter. Each controlled movement will extend forten minutes. The scheduled moves are announced over the institutions loud speakers. Once announced the doors will be unlocked for movement. You will have 10 minutes to move from one area of the institution to the other. You are not authorized to loiter in front of the Units on the compound or in front of any other buildings. You are to walk on assigned sidewalks only. Running on the compound or cutting corners by stepping off the sidewalk is prohibited unless there is an emergency. You must typically sign out/in of your housing unit when leaving on the controlled movements. Scheduled call-outs and mealtime usually do not require you to sign out. Sign out/in sheets are typically held by the officers in your housing unit.

Security Level -Controlled Movements

Minimum- *No

Low -*Yes

Medium- *Yes

High- *Yes


It is referred to any item not authorized, issued , or purchased through commissary by the institution for you. Any item in your personal possession must be authorized, and a record of receipt for the item must be kept by you. Do not purchase any items from other inmates. These items will be considered contraband and will be confiscated. Any altered item, even if initially approved or issued , is considered contraband.

NEVER have or use a cell phone! BOP takes this very seriously! You will probably be transferred to a higher security level designation further away from your family, if a cell phone is found in your possession.

There are two types of contraband Hard and Nuisance.

Contraband will be seized and inventoried. You have 7 days to prove legal ownership. Some Nuisance Contraband may be mailed to an address that you provide at your expense, while other Contraband may be destroyed.

Possible Sanctions for violating BOP policy:

· Monetary Fine

· Loss of Privileges

· Disciplinary Segregation

· Loss of GCT (Good Conduct Time)

· Loss of Job

· Restrict Living Quarters

· Extra Duty

· Remove from Programs

Severity Levels/Possible Sanctions:

· Greatest- 100 level - loss of at least 41 days GCT(75% if less than 54 days). Up to a $500 monetary fine, or 75% of trust fund balance

· High- 200 level – loss of at least 27 days GTC (50% if less than 54 days). Up to a $300 monetary fine, or 50% of trust fund balance

· Moderate- 300 level- loss of at least 14 days GTC (25% if less than 54 days). Up to $100 monetary fine, or 25% of trust fund balance

· Low- 400 level- loss of at least 7 days GTC (12.5% if less than 54 days). Up to a $50 monetary fine, or 12.5% of trust fund balance


Any staff member may search you or your living quarters at any time and for any reason. You will not be allowed to be present during living quarter searches. The property and living area should be left in the same condition as found. These inspections will be unannounced and random. You are also subject to random pat and visual (strip searches).

Drug/Alcohol Testing

You may be selected randomly to take a urine or breathalyzer drug/alcohol test. You havetwo hour time limit to provide a sufficient urine sample. Refusal to submit to the test or not providing it within the two hour time limit (for urine tests) will result in an incident report and your placement in the Special Housing Unit.

Special Housing Unit (SHU) also known as the HOLE

Per BOP policy § 541.21 Special Housing Units (SHUs).

Special Housing Units (SHUs) are housing units in Bureau institutions where inmates are securely separated from the general inmate population, and may be housed either alone or with other inmates. Special housing units help ensure the safety, security, and orderly operation of correctional facilities, and protect the public, by providing alternative housing assignments for inmates removed from the general population

Some basics conditions that may occur in the SHU:

· Placed in a cell under lock and key

· Allowed out of your cell one hour a day to exercise, and to shower three times per week

· One telephone call per month

· Limited commissary and personal belongings

· May be limited to non-contact visiting

· Meals served in cell

· Dress in orange jump suit

When placed in the SHU, you are either in administrative detention status or disciplinary segregation status. There are also required notices, different types of placement, review periods, property limits, outside contact information, and release procedures. You can file a grievance using the Administrative Remedy Program challenging any part of your confinement in the SHU. The SHU is a place to avoid at all costs!

DHO (Disciplinary Hearing Officer) Hearing Basics:

· You will receive written notice against you at least 24 hours before the hearing

· DHO will be an impartial party

· You are allowed impartial staff representation at hearing

· Staff representative will assist with you understanding charges against you, interview witnesses, and prepare evidence

· You may appear in person or electronically (phone)

· You can waive your right to appear

· You will usually receive a written report within 15 days after the hearing confirming that you that you understood your rights, evidence relied on, DHO decision, sanction imposed, reasons sanctions imposed.

· Possible dispositions: you committed the prohibited act described in the incident report, you did not commit the prohibited, or referred back for further investigation

· You can appeal the decision through the Administrative Remedy Program

Your plan should include making sure you understand and abide by all the Counts, and Contraband rules and regulations. Avoid being placed in the SHU!

Outside Contacts

There are basically four ways to maintain outside contacts:

· Telephone

· E-mail

· Mail

· Visits

There are usually no instructions provided by staff how to set up or use the telephone or email systems. You have to rely on another inmate telling you how to use them, or find out how to use them through trial and error. Time is money on these systems, so learning how to use them efficiently is important.


Telephone usage is a privilege, not a right, given to you. If you do not follow the rules and regulations for usage disciplinary and/or prosecution may result. Telephones are usually located in each housing unit. All phone calls will be made utilizing the Inmate Telephone System (ITS). All calls are subject to monitoring and recording, unless legal calls are approved by your Unit Staff in advance using the Inmate Request to Staff Member form. Once approved, the call will be placed on a specified phone. Also, emergency calls must be approved in advance by Unit Staff.

To use the phone system you will first need to setup, transfer, and get phone numbers approved for your ITS account. Then you will need to place a call, understand your limitations, and realize what not to do on a call.

Get Phone Numbers Approved:

  1. Add new contact, that includes the full name and relationship of the person to you, on the TRULINCS computer station. You can usually have two phone numbers per contact. From the Home Page on TRULINCS click “contact list” on the right hand side and then click “add new contact” on the top left of the home page. You can usually have up to 30 approved contacts at one time.
  2. Staff will review the new contact request and phone number request and usually send an approval or rejection notice over TRULINCS within 48 hours
  3. If approved, you can make a phone call to the approved contact

Make a Call:

  1. Local calls: Dial area code + phone # + PAC #
  2. Long distance: Dial 1+area code+phone#+PAC#
  3. Collect calls: Dial 0+area code+phone+PAC#
  4. International calls: Dial 0+area code+phone#+PAC#
  5. State your first and last name as you did when you get up your ITS account
  6. The call will then be placed to your approved contact
  7. A recording will then be played over the phone once the call is picked up. It will state that “you have a prepaid call. This is 'your name' an inmate from a Federal Prison. Dial a “5” to accept the call or just hang up to decline".
  8. If your approved contact hits the “5” button on the phone and accepts your call, you can begin your conversation
  9. Understand your phone limitations
  10. Each accepted call can last a maximum of 15 minutes
  11. You will hear a warning tone one minute before the call is disconnected when you reach your maximum call limit
  12. You must wait a minimum of 1 hour between accepted calls
  13. You will have up to 300 minutes to use per month for calls *usually staff will grant you 400 minutes/month of usage for the holiday months of November and December
  14. Your monthly phone minutes will reset each month usually based on the 5th digit of your assigned BOP registration number
  15. You can check your available phone minutes by dialing 118 - PAC # - option 1
  16. You can make up to 5 social calls per day
  17. Phones are usually operable from 6:00 A.M. to 11:30 P.M. daily
  18. You will be limited to 1 phone call per month if you are in Disciplinary Segregation and/or Administrative Detention

Do Not Use phone:

  1. For any unlawful purpose or unauthorized manner
  2. To conduct any business
  3. For call forwarding, three way calling, or credit card calling
  4. During working hours

NEVER have or use a cell phone! BOP takes this very seriously! You will probably be transferred to a higher security level designation further away from your family, if a cell phone is found in your possession.

Severity Scale of Prohibited Acts:

· Low-Moderate: Code 497- non-criminal activities such as exceeding the 15 minute time limit for telephone calls (normally the call will just automatically end), placing an unauthorized individual on your telephone list, or using the telephone in an unauthorized area.

· Moderate: Code 397- non-criminal activities such as conference calling, possession and/or use of another inmates PIN or PAC #, three way calling, and providing false information for preparation of a telephone list.

· High: Code 297- non-criminal activities such as circumventing telephone monitoring procedures, third party billing, using credit card numbers to place a call, and talking in code.

· Greatest: Code 197- use of the phone to further criminal activity.

*Sanctions can range from forfeiting earned statutory good time, to disciplinary transfer, to disciplinary segregation, to loss of privileges. The higher the severity levels the higher the sanctions that can be imposed.

Telephone Recap:

1. Set up initial phone account

2. Transfer money to phone account

3. Get phone #’s approved

4. Make the phone call knowing your limitations


The Email systems currently used are TRULINCS workstations. These workstations will be located in your unit. Usually only people in your particular unit can use these workstations. To access your email you will need your 8 digit register #, you 9 digit TRUFONE PAC#, and your 4 digit TRULINC PIN #. These are the same number that were issued by your counselor and used for everything else. Also many workstations have thumb print scanners that replace the PIN # requirement. But you should have it handy in case the thumb scanner isn’t working.

This is very useful information that I compiled to help you navigate and understand the email systems more efficiently. This will allow you to save you time and money.

You can usually have between 30-100 active email addresses. Email usage is limited to 15 minutes per log on. You must also wait 30 minutes once you log off the TRUNLINCS computer workstation before logging back on.

The email system will warn you when you have 5 minutes left in time. It will then let you know every minute left counting down to 0. Once your time remaining hits 0 it will automatically log you off the email part of the TRULINCS computer workstation. If you were in the middle of composing and sending an email and you get logged off, you can usually go to draft messages on the email home page and it will be saved. You can finish it and send it out the next time you are on TRULINCS. There are no monthly total minute limits on email usage, just the 15 minute limit per session as long as you have TRU-Units available. There is also a 13,000 character limit for emails. You alsoneed to delete inbox emails once you don’t need them to make space once you get near you 13,000 character limit. You can still view deleted emails until they are purged after 180 days. Also, there is a spell check button you can click before sending any emails.

Restriction email Recap:

  • 30-100 email contact list limit
  • 15 minutes usage per log on
  • 30 minutes wait period between TRULINCS usage
  • 13,000 character limit
  • Need to purchase TRU-Units to use
  • No monthly minute usage limits

How Approved Contacts receive your emails:

  1. They have to accept your email request.
  2. They have to create a Coorlinks account. Their email address and created password must be entered to enter the site.
  3. It’s currently free to create the account for anyone communicating with Federal Prisoners using TRULINCS . They can upgrade their account for a minimum fee to premium service to receive your emails faster to their cell phones.
  4. They have to log onto the Coorlinks site to check and retrieve your emails. They can click “enable email alert” when setting up their account (Pending Contacts page) so that their regular email notifies them they received an email from you.

Do Not use Email:

  1. To conduct a business
  2. For any unlawful purpose
  3. For any purpose against institution regulations
  4. To provide false information regarding an email address
  5. No pictures or attachments allowed


· You are usually permitted and encouraged to correspond with the Public and your family without prior staff approval. You are responsible for all the contents and context of all outgoing correspondence. There are restrictions of the type of mail you can receive. There are generally two types of mail: general correspondence and special mail.

First you need to know the definitions of different types of Correspondence.

Per BOP policy 540.2 Definitions.

· General correspondence means incoming or outgoing correspondence other than special mail. General correspondence includes packages sent through the mail.

· The term publication means: a book, booklet, pamphlet, or similar document, or a single issue of a magazine, periodical, newsletter, newspaper, plus such other materials addressed to a specific inmate such as advertising brochures, flyers, and catalogs

· Restricted general correspondence means general correspondence which is limited to a list of authorized correspondents.

· Representatives of the news media means persons whose principal employment is to gather or report news for:

(1) A newspaper which qualifies as a general circulation newspaper in the community in which it is published. A newspaper is one of “general circulation” if it circulates among the general public and if it publishes news of a general character of general interest to the public such as news of political, religious, commercial, or social affairs. A key test to determine whether a newspaper qualifies as a “general circulation” newspaper is to determine whether the paper qualifies for the purpose of publishing legal notices in the community in which it is located or the area to which it distributes;

(2) A news magazine which has a national circulation and is sold by newsstands and by mail subscription to the general public;

(3) A national or international news service; or

(4) A radio or television news program, whose primary purpose is to report the news, of a station holding a Federal Communications Commission license.

Special mail means correspondence sent to the following:

1. President and Vice President of the United States

2. The U.S. Department of Justice (including the Bureau of Prisons)

3. U.S. Attorneys Offices

4. Surgeon General

5. U.S. Public Health Service

6. Secretary of the Army, Navy, or Air Force

7. U.S. Courts (including U.S. Probation Officers)

8. Members of the U.S. Congress

9. Embassies and Consulates

10. Governors

11. State Attorneys General

12. Prosecuting Attorneys

13. Directors of State Departments of Corrections

14. State Parole Commissioners

15. State Legislators

16. State Courts

17. State Probation Officers

18. Other Federal and State law enforcement offices

19. Attorneys

20. Representatives of the news media.

In order to send mail to an attorney’s assistant or to a legal aid student or assistant, you shall address the mail to the attorney or legal aid supervisor, or the legal organization or firm, to the attention of the student or assistant

*The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is part of the U.S. Public Health Service; correspondence sent to the CDC is considered special mail.

Special mail also includes correspondence received from the following: President and Vice President of the United States, attorneys, Members of the U.S. Congress, Embassies and Consulates, the U.S. Department of Justice (excluding the Bureau of Prisons but including U.S. Attorneys), other Federal law enforcement officers, State Attorneys General, Prosecuting Attorneys, Governors, U.S. Courts (including U.S. Probation Officers), and State Courts. For incoming correspondence to be processed under the special mail procedures (see §§ 540.18--540.19), the sender must be adequately identified on the envelope, and the front of the envelope must be marked “Special Mail — Open only in the presence of the inmate. Mail to you received from an attorney’s assistant or legal aid student or assistant, in order to be identified and treated by staff as special mail, must be properly identified on the envelope as required , and must be marked on the front of the envelope as being mail from the attorney or from the legal aid supervisor.

Sample Special Mail Envelope- Received by You

Senders Name, and Title :“Special Mail-open only in the presence

of the inmate”, and return address

**************************************Your Name, Register ID #

******************************************Name of Institution


******************************************City, State, Zip Code

For all outgoing Correspondence you need to create a TRULINCS Mailing label. You need to have contacts approved, the same procedure as email approval, prior to creating mailing labels.

  1. Log onto your TRULINCS workstation.
  2. Click “contact list” on the right side of the Home Page.
  3. Click “mailing labels” upper left hand side of Home screen.
  4. Choose the amount of labels you want to print next to the approved contact. You can print 5 labels per day.
  5. Click print mailing labels at the bottom of the screen.
  6. Go to the library after 30 minutes to process your mailing labels.
  7. Log onto the Library’s TRULINCS workstation printer. Same procedure as logging on the TRULINCS workstation in your Unit.
  8. Click items to print and click Print Service (Print).
  9. Take your mailing labels off of the printer. There is no cost to print mailing labels.

Sample TRULINCS Mailing label- printed on self adhesive label

*Your Inmate Registration ID # *

Recipient Name


All outgoing correspondence must contain your committed name, register #, name of the Institution, and the institution’s address in the upper left hand corner of the envelope.

Sample Outgoing Envelope- with Mailing label affixed

Your Name, Register #

Name of Institution


City , State, Zip Code

**********************************************************Recipient Name


Your Outgoing correspondence will usually only be inspected to the extent it is “necessary or essential” to protect “important or essential” interests of the institution. Depending on your institutions security level mail may be required to be sealed or unsealed when being processed to be mailed.

Sealed Outgoing Mail - Unsealed Outgoing Mail

*Minimum Security -------*Medium Security

*Low Security -------------*High Security

Mailboxes for depositing outgoing mail are secured and located in the housing units. Usually on a daily basis, excluding weekends and holidays, the compound officer will collect all outgoing mail to be processed for delivery. If you can’t afford them, and are considered an “inmate without funds”,you may qualify to receive free postage for up to 5 letters a month if approved by the Warden. Stamps have to be bought through the commissary, you can’t receive stamps through the mail. You can buy up to 20 1st class stamps per shopping day at the commissary. You may also possess up to 60 1st class stamps at any one given time. There are usually postage scales located in the library at most institutions if needed. For bigger packages see your assigned Counselor for assistance.

Recap for Outgoing Mail Correspondence Process

  • Get contacts approved over TRULINCS work station
  • Create a TRULINCS mailing label
  • Place correspondence in an envelope with the TRULINCS mailing label affixed to it. Also include your return address and proper postage
  • Either seal or unseal it when mailing it
  • Place in the secured mailbox for mailing

Incoming Correspondence

Similar to outgoing correspondence, you are usually permitted to correspond with the public and your family without prior staff approval. You may receive most books, magazines, and newspapers at the institution. Most of these items are subject to your property limits.

Typical Limits for Receiving Incoming Correspondence:

Books- 5



Photo’s/Pictures – 25

The method in which these items are mailed to you varies based on your institutions security level:

Security Level - Magazines/Soft Newspapers/Soft Cover Publications- Hard Cover Publications

Minimum- Any- Direct

Low-Any -Direct

Medium-Direct- Direct

High- Direct- Direct

Administrative -Direct -Direct

*Any= Any source. Mark contents as “Contents-Authorized Publications when mailed in.

*Direct= Only sent by Publisher, Book Club, or Book Store

*all subscriptions to publications on a “bill me later” are prohibited

*The Unit manager may make an exception. If the publication is no longer available from the publisher, book club, or book store. You will be required to provide written documentation that the publication is no longer available for the sources.

All incoming general correspondence and outgoing mail in medium, high, and administrative institutions (except “special mail”) is subject to random reading by correctional staff. The objectives of reading mail differ from the objectives of inspection. For inspection (to which all incoming general correspondence is subjected), the objective is primarily to detect contraband. The random reading of mail is intended to reveal, for example, escape plots, plans to commit illegal acts, plans to violate institution rules, or other security concerns.

Mail Monitoring. Each institution establishes procedures for monitoring incoming and outgoing mail. Institutions may wish to give closer scrutiny to incoming and outgoing mail of inmates, for example, who:

■ Participated in criminal activity of a sophisticated nature.

■ Committed crimes that involved mail or fraudulent schemes.

■ Are considered escape risks.

■ Present management problems (i.e., interference /disruption of the orderly running of the institution).

The Warden may reject correspondence sent by or to an inmate if it is determined detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution, to the protection of the public, or if it might facilitate criminal activity. Correspondence which may be rejected by a Warden includes, but is not limited to, correspondence which contains any of the following:

· Procedures for the construction or use of weapons, ammunition, bombs, or incendiary devices.

· It depicts, encourages, or describes methods of escape from the institution.

· It depicts or describes procedures for brewing of alcoholic beverages, or manufacture of drugs.

· It is written in code.

· It depicts, describes, or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption.

· It is sexually explicit material which by its nature or content poses a threat to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution.

· Direction of an inmate business.

· Matter which is non-mailable under law or postal regulations.

*Inmates are not allowed to receive packages from home without prior written approval from the inmate's unit team or authorized staff member at the institution. The only packages an inmate may receive from home are those containing release clothing and authorized medical devices.

The Warden may place an inmate on restricted general correspondence based on misconduct or as a matter of classification.

For this restriction, the term “classification” is used to identify categories of behavior.

Determining factors include the inmate’s: ( *per BOP Policy P5265.14 4/5/2011):

(1) Involvement in any of the activities listed above.

(2) Attempting to solicit funds or items (e.g., samples), or subscribing to a publication without paying for the subscription;

(3) Being a security risk;

(4) Threatening a government official; or

(5) Having committed an offense involving the mail.

(b) The Warden may limit to a reasonable number persons on the approved restricted general correspondence list of an inmate.

A recommendation to place an inmate on restricted correspondence is made by the unit team during the inmate’s program review or by the Unit Disciplinary Committee (UDC) or Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO), when restricted correspondence is required by an infraction of an institution rule.

Action taken by the UDC or DHO as a disciplinary sanction is ordinarily based on a finding of violation of correspondence regulations.


BOP policy # § 540.17 Correspondence between confined inmates.

An inmate may be permitted to correspond with an inmate confined in any other penal or correctional institution if the other inmate is either a member of the immediate family, or is a party or witness in a legal action in which both inmates are involved. Such correspondence may be approved in other exceptional circumstances, with particular regard to the security level of the institution, the nature of the relationship between the two inmates, and whether the inmate has other regular correspondence. The following additional limitations apply:

Inmates must provide current documentation (dated within the past six months) to support both inmates are parties to or a witness in a current legal action. At subsequent inmate team reviews, inmates will provide supporting documentation to continue correspondence privileges.

(a) Such correspondence at institutions of all security levels may always be inspected and read by staff at the sending and receiving institutions (it may not be sealed by the inmate); and

If inspection of the correspondence reveals communication other than a legal matter, the unit manager will be advised and a determination will be made whether to disapprove further correspondence. If privileges are rescinded, the unit manager or designee will ensure mail room and trust fund staff are notified.

(b) (1) The appropriate unit manager at each institution must approve of the correspondence if both inmates are housed in Federal institutions and both inmates are members of the same immediate family or are a party or witness in a legal action in which both inmates are involved

Certified/Registered Mail

Will be delivered to you by Unit Staff. You will be required to sign a receipt log. All outgoing certified/registered mail is sent first class at your expense. Slips and postal charts are usually available in the institutions library.

Do Not Use Mail:

  • Regarding information of escape plots
  • Plans to commit illegal activities
  • In violation of institution rules
  • To direct an inmate run business
  • For threats, extortion, or obscenity
  • Sent though a third party
  • For matters which is non-mailable under law or postal regulations
  • Negotiable items: No money orders or checks allowe

Severity Scale of Some Prohibited Acts

Low-Moderate: Code 408 conducting a business

Code 410 unauthorized use of mail

Moderate: Code 327 unauthorized contacts with the public

High: Code 204 extortion, blackmail

*sanctions can range from forfeiting earned statutory good time, to disciplinary transfer, to disciplinary segregation to loss of privileges.


You are also encouraged by most institutions to have visits to maintain family and community ties.

Visiting Schedules:

All institutions have visiting hours on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays; and most have them at other times during the week. Weekends are the most popular time to visit so prisons may choose to limit visits to either Saturday or Sunday and the day will vary for each inmate. Other factors that can affect the days and times you can visit include:

· the prison location

· the prison type

· inmate visiting needs

· availability of visiting space

How you are charged for visits:

· You normally receive 8 points per month for visits

· Each visit you will be charged 2 Points

· No more than 6 visitors may visit at one time. 4 Adults and 2 Children (under 18) maximum allowed.

· Regular weekday visits you will be charged 1 point

· No additional points charged if more visitors come in after the other one’s leave and you remain in the visiting room.

Dress Code for Inmates

Inmates must wear institution clothing when in the visiting room. The clothing must be clean and in good condition. They are also required to wear institution footwear (no sneakers) in the visiting room. Hat and sunglasses are not approved unless religious headgear and prescription sunglasses. No jewelry besides wedding bands and religious medallions are allowed. Watches are not allowed and should be left in the inmates housing unit before leaving for the visiting room.

Dress Code For Visitors

Wear clothing that is appropriate for a large gathering of men, women, and young children. Wearing inappropriate clothing (such as provocative or revealing clothes) may result in your being denied visitation.

The following items are NOT permitted:

  1. revealing shorts
  2. sundresses
  3. halter tops
  4. bathing suits
  5. see-through garments of any type
  6. crop tops
  7. low-cut blouses or dresses
  8. leotards
  9. spandex
  10. miniskirts
  11. backless tops
  12. hats or caps
  13. sleeveless garments
  14. skirts two inches or more above the knee
  15. dresses or skirts with a high-cut split in the back, front, or side
  16. clothing that looks like inmate clothing (khaki or green military-type clothing)

Visiting Duration

By law, an inmate gets at least four hours of visiting time per month but usually the prison can provide more. However, the Warden can restrict the length of visits or the number of people who can visit at once, to avoid overcrowding in the visiting room. Usually the visits last from morning to late afternoon.

Physical Contact

In most cases, handshakes, hugs, and kisses (in good taste) are allowed at the beginning and end of a visit. Staff may limit contact for security reasons (to prevent people from trying to introduce contraband) and to keep the visiting area orderly. The Federal Bureau of Prisons does not permit conjugal visits. Contact with your children is usually permitted.


If needed during your visit all medications must be left with the officer in charge of the visiting room. All medications must be properly marked with proper names.

Who can you add to your visiting list?

Immediate Family:

· Mother

· Father

· Step-parent(s)

· Foster parent(s)

· Brothers

· Sisters

· Spouse

· Children


· Grandparents

· Uncles

· Aunts

· In-laws

· Cousins

Other types of approved visitors:

· No more than 10 friends/associates

· Foreign officials

· Members of religious groups including clergy

· Members of civic groups

· Employers (former or prospective)

· Sponsors

· Parole advisors

· Attorney

Process to get visitors approved:

Entrance Procedures:

  • Your visitors must bring valid forms of ID for anyone over the age of 16
  • State Driver’s license or State ID card with their names and signatures affixed
  • One form of photo ID if there is not a photo on the ID’s listed above
  • Birth certificates do not count as acceptable entrance ID

All visitors over the age of 16, without proper ID will not be permitted to visit.

Depending on the institutions security level visitors may be checked with a metal detector, ion spectrometry device, and pat searched.

All visitors that do not successfully pass these entrance and possible search procedures will not be permitted entrance. All visitors will also have to sign an entrance form that states you have no contraband in your possession, no cell phones, and no drugs/alcohol and consent to a search. It will also state prohibited activities. You also need to put the make and license number of your vehicle on the entrance notification form.


Visiting room officers will assign seats to you and your visitors. You normally have to sit across from your visitors except for children. You are to remain seated in your seat during the visit unless you get approval to move from the officer on duty. If the visiting room gets to crowded and there are no seats left the visiting room officer will ask for volunteers to leave. If there are not enough volunteers, visits will be terminated based upon criteria to include: visitors arriving first, distance traveled, number of previous visits, and any recent terminations. Many times there will be outside visiting room seating available.

Special/Legal Visits

All special and legal visits must be approved by the unit team and approved by the Unit manager or possibly the Warden. Special visits include: visits with clergy, potential employers, investigators, parole representatives, and other individuals not on your approved visiting list. Also, it includes visits if you are hospitalized in the community. These types of visits must be approved 5 working days in advance to the visit. Hospital visits may be restricted to immediate family members and are subject to general visiting policy of that hospital. Legal visits should try to be scheduled during regular visiting hours. If outside of regular visiting hours, the visit will be limited to 1 hour. The attorney-client visiting room will be provided for legal visits whenever possible.


No food, except baby food/formula will be permitted to be brought in by visitors. There are vending machines located in the visiting rooms for the visitors use. Visitors are allowed to bring in a clear see through change

purse or bill fords with a reasonable amount of money placed in it (under $25). They will usually be allowed to buy all parties food, snacks, and drinks from the vending machines. Visitors are not supposed to pass and share food or drink items. You are not allowed in the vending area or allowed to handle food.

Leaving Visit

You can embrace in good taste. Remember to get your ID back from the visiting room officer. You may be pat searched or strip searched after each visit based on the security level of the institution. Usually at minimum levels you will be pat searched. At Low and above you will usually be strip searched.

Visiting DO NOT:

  • Violate any visiting guidelines
  • Handle any money
  • Go into vending or children’s play areas
  • Converse with other visitors
  • Have excessive physical contact
  • Move around the visiting room
  • Exchange items with visitors

Your Plan should include understanding how to maintain outside contacts. It is important to understand how each of the ways to maintain outside contacts is regulated and works. Maintaining these contacts is beneficial for you and your loved ones, and helps your custody scoring. Time is money on the phone and email systems, and knowing how to navigate through these systems with save you a lot of time and money. Also, understanding how the visiting process works is very important, and can save you and your loved ones a lot of unnecessary frustration.

How to Establish Goals:

· 1st 100 days

· 0ne year

· Beyond One year to Release

First 100 Days

Learn Staff Roles

There are several staff roles you should become familiar with. They are the Warden, Associate Wardens, Unit Manager, Case Manager, Counselor, Correctional Officers, and Camp Unit Secretary.

The Warden is responsible for the total operation of the institution. Their decisions are based on policies established by The Bureau of Prisons. He/She has final authority on all matters within the institution. They delegate certain duties to their subordinates.

Associate Warden (Programs)

Responsible for the programming aspects of the institution relating to correctional services, case management, unit management, correctional systems department, psychology services, and religious services.

Associate Warden (Operations)

Responsible for the operational aspects of the institution relating to office of financial management (inmate financial accounts, commissary, telephones,laundry, food services, facilities department, health services, and safety)

Associate Warden (Industries & Education)

He is responsible for all UNICOR operations for the factory, the UNICOR Business office, the UNICOR warehouse, education and recreation.

Unit Staff

Camp Administrator

Total supervision of all camp programs including the program plan design for you particular needs

Unit Manager

Is the administrative head of the Unit. He is responsible for the supervision of the institution Unit staff including programs and activities. They are also the Chairperson of the team and ordinarily chairs the Unit discipline committee.

Case Manager

Is responsible for all the casework services and prepares classification material, progress reports, release plans, correspondence, and other materials relating to your commitment. They are the liaison between you, the administration, and the community.


Provides counseling and guidance for you in the areas of institutional adjustment, completing visiting lists, living quarter changes, overseeing Unit sanitation, informally resolving administrative remedy issues, and answers general questions about institutions rules and regulations.

Unit Secretary

Performs clerical and administrative duties within the Unit and assists in the day to day operation of the Unit.

Unit Correctional Officers

Responsible for the security, day to day supervision, and enforcement of rules and regulations. They also assist in maintaining the sanitation of the Units. They are supervised by the Unit Manager and the Captain.

Unit Team consists of:

· Unit manager

· Case manager

· Counselor

· Unit secretary

· Education representative

· Psychologist

*at the minimum security level may also include the Camp Administrator and Correctional Officer

You will have the most interaction with the Correctional Officers, Counselor, and your Case Manager.

What to Expect the FIRST 48 Hours & Top Ten List

1. You will be assigned a bed and a bunkie. You may also be placed in “overflow’ unit awaiting your bed assignment. Check your living area and report all damages and/or contraband to the Correctional Officer or Counselor. You may be held financially liable for any damage to your personal living area along with any contraband.

Most cubicles and/or cells have a bunk bed located in them for two people. Some also have a side bed called a “sidecar” or a three man bunk. Get your bed/bunk assignment. Try to get a bed assignment away from high traffic areas, or across from the bathrooms, or with a bad bunkie.

2. The most desirable bed assignments would be a side bed or “side car” in the cubicle. The next best assignment would be the bottom bunk in a cubicle, that will usually be below the wall of the cubicle. There is much less noise and you have easier access to your bed, if you are on the bottom bunk or ‘side car’ bed. Some people like the top bunk in a cell because they feel safer up top and noise in a cell usually isn’t an issue like it is in a cubicle. If you have a bottom bunk pass, now would be the time to present it to your Counselor if you haven’t already submitted it. Submit bottom bunk pass and request the best possible cube.

3. Get to know who your Unit Manager, Case Manager, and Counselor are ASAP. They play very important roles In getting your through this process.

4. Get your PIN and PAC number from your Counselor and set up your phone account and your email account. Make sure you have your inmate ID on you with your registration # on it when setting up the accounts.

5. Enter all your contact information. Print 5 mailing labels once they are approved.

6.  Send email and make a phone call to loved ones to let them know you are ok. Send out letters to loved ones.

7. Go to laundry and get your institution issued clothing, and one pair of work boots.

8. Go to commissary and purchase needed items. Some of the needed items include: shower shoes, sneakers, a normal toothbrush, a toothbrush holder, a radio or MP3 player so you can watch TV, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, a soap holder, a good razor, shaving cream, a brush, shorts, sweatpants, socks, and underwear. You will be provided with some necessities upon arrival and from laundry but the quality is poor.

9. Begin to learn where everything is on the compound especially the “out of bounds” locations.

10. Try to learn the compound lingo and etiquette and begin to adjust to the institutions rules and regulations. Talk to your new bunkie, but don’t ask too many questions or reveal too much about yourself regarding your finances or case. Be courteous and respect others. Clean up after yourself. Be confident and try to hold back on emotions and don’t seem weak.

Some Federal Inmate Lingo You Should Learn

· Get out of the way= lay low

· Behind the fence- refers to a low and medium security institution

· Behind the wall- refers to a high security institution

· Short timer or short- sentence under one year at Minimum level, and three years or less at Low and Higher levels

· Cho-Mo= sex offender

· Put money on my books= put money in my trust fund account

· Tighten up= straighten up or do better

· How long have you been down= how much have you been locked up

· Rat= someone who tells on another person

· Bid= how much time you were sentenced

· Let me see your papers=other inmates want to see your Judgment and Commitment papers.

· He ain’t right= he cooperated and told on someone

· Cellie or Bunkie= your roommate

· Out of pocket=out of line

· On the move= the Correctional Officers or other staff are on their way to your housing unit.

· How many hamburger or chicken days left= how much time you have left until you are released. Usually means weeks since these are served on Wednesday and Thursdays of each week.

· Recall= report back to housing unit

· Merry go round= final form that needs to be signed off on by different departments before you leave

· In the building- staff is in the building

· Call outs= scheduled appointment

· Coming through= when passing by a shower of another

· My car= people you lift weights with at a time slot

· Out of bounds= somewhere on the compound you are not allowed

· CO= Correctional Officer

· Chow Hall= dining hall/cafeteria

· Alright= hello

· Camp= minimum security institution

· Furlough= a short leave from the institution

· They are Straight = ok no problems with paperwork=not a rat

· Good money= you are doing good

Federal Prison Etiquette

  • Greet another inmate with a right closed fist to their right closed fist NOT lef No cutting in food line
  • No reaching over food trays
  • Don’t change TV station without asking
  • Knock on table when leaving chow hall
  • Don’t take peoples time slots lifting weights
  • Wipe up sinks behind you especially after shaving and cleaning bowls
  • Clean toilet seat after using with spray
  • Leave showers clean
  • Flush toilet right after you go
  • Don’t use sink with mirror that is in front of showers if you can avoid them
  • No blowing nose in sinks
  • Don’t wear underwear if walking around unit put on at least shorts
  • Don’t stare in cubicles or cells when walking past the Don't go in other cubicles or cells without being invited
  • Don't sit on other beds
  • Give people their space when talking (arms length)
  • Show good manners/respect to others
  • Don’t sit in someone else’s chair in TV room or Chow Hall
  • Turn lights out in living quarters after 10 PM standing count
  • Mind your own business. Don’t ask too many questions about others
  • Put weights back after using them
  • Wipe down weight equipment after using

You should obtain a copy of your Sentencing Monitoring Computation data from your Case Manager. Make sure everything is accurate. It will include the following information:

Your name DOB Living Quarters:___________________________

*Home Detention Eligibility Date:______________________

Current Judgement/Warrant No:

Court of Jurisdiction__________________________________

Docket Number__________________________________________


Date Sentenced/Probation Imposed_______________________

Date Committed_________________________________________

How Committed__________________________________________

Probation Imposed______________________________________

Felony Assess fines costs

Restitution Property ____ Services_____ Amount_______

Current Obligation

Offense Code_________________________________________


Sentence Procedure

Sentence imposed/time to serve________________________

Term of Supervision___________________________________

Date of Offense_______________________________________

Current Computation

Date computation began________________________________

Total term in effect_____________________________months

Total term in effect converted___________________years

Earliest date of offense______________________________

Jail credit

Total prior credit time_______________________________

Total inoperable time_________________________________

Total GCT earned and projected_____________________days

Total GCT earned __________________________________days

Statutory release date projected:__________________

Expiration full term date___________________________

Projected satisfaction date________________________

Projected satisfaction method_______________________

Current computation

Date computation began____________________________

Total term in effect__________________________months

Total term in effect converted_________________years

Earliest date of Offense________________________

Jail Credit:

Total Prior credit time:

*Good Conduct Time (GCT) Calculations

· You must either have a GED, High School diploma or better, or be working towards one to get full credit. If not, 42 days credit given.

· Must be sentenced to one year and a day

· The statute calls for you to serve 85% of the sentence imposed, the BOP credit’s the amount of time actually served.

· 54 days credit for each year served (prorated when the time served by the inmate for the sentence during the year is less than a full year)

· You will usually serve approximately 87.5% of your time

*Home Detention Eligibility Date: Usually the last 10% of your term to be served or up to six months.


There are three parts of the initial physical Screening Exams: Usually occurs within 14 days of admission to the institution.

1. Basic Medical and Mental Health

2. Dental- Basic Oral Exam

3. Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests (TB Screening within 2 working days of admission)

Examples: Sickle Cell , STD, Hepatitis, TB screening, chest x-ray, and EKG if needed.

Medical Co-pay of $2.00 may apply for each medical visit.

Exceptions to Co-Pay: NO Co-pay

· Health care services based on staff referrals

· Staff-approved follow-up treatment for a chronic condition

· Preventive health care services

· Emergency services

· Prenatal care

· Diagnosis or treatment of chronic infectious diseases

· Mental health care

· Substance abuse treatment

You should begin to choose friends

You can find people and friends from your own State or District. The last three numbers of a person’s Inmate ID number reflect the US Marshalls district where they were processed in. Many people help each other and associate with others who are from the same district.

.Sign up for recreation/fitness programs


encouraged to offer as many program components as staff and

resources allow.

Understanding IFRP- Institution Financial Responsibility Plan- Used to pay fines/restitution/other court ordered financial obligations

· Staff will help develop a reasonable plan

· Usually established in your first team meeting

· Staff shall monitor your progress in meeting the obligation

· You will be encouraged, if possible, to satisfy any legitimate financial obligation at time of commitment

· Usually minimum IFRP payment will be $25 per quarter

· Usually automatically deducted from your TRUST account

· Staff will encourage payments through compensation paid through UNICOR or other institution work assignments

· Very important to maintain compliance in paying the IFRP

One Year Goals

  • Attend additional team meeting and set goals
  • Continue to take courses
  • Continue to maintain outside contacts
  • Continue fitness programs
  • Get medical/dental exams
  • Review custody classification with teams

Custody Classification Reviews at Team Meetings

· Your first custody classification will usually be scored at your first program review, approximately 7 months after arrival to the institution

· Subsequent reviews will occur at least every 12 months

· Only changes which increase or decrease (incident report, new sentence, sentence reduction) your overall security level assignment should be scored outside of the 12 month cycle.

· When transferring to another institution you usually maintain your custody assignment

· At each annual review a new Custody Classification Form (BP-338 will be completed)

· These forms are used to recommend your custody level to your Unit Team and Warden

· Custody changes are not solely determined by the point totals. Unit team can still make changes by properly documenting the reasons on the Custody Classification form and inform you. Most of the time they will follow the recommended point totals in addressing possible changes in your Custody Classification.

One Year and Beyond Goals

· Continue Programming

· Continue Medical Exams

· Continue Team meetings

· Maintain Fitness Goals

· Continue to Prepare for

· Release Planning

· Maintain Outside Contacts


This will teach you how to Accomplish:

· Taking Pre-Release courses

· Taking Early Release Programs

· Your other goals

Pre-Release Courses-Complete them per your Team recommendation: usually at least one in each category.

Categories of Release Preparation Program (RPP)

· Health and Nutrition

· Employment

· Personal Finance/Consumer Skills

· Information/Community Resources

· Release Requirements and Procedures

· Personal Growth and Development

Subcategories- Courses- You should put in a Cop-out after your initial team meeting, and enroll in each of these classes.

Health and Nutrition

· Health A- Continuity of Care & Infectious Disease Update (Health Service)

· Health B-Alcoholics Anonymous & Narcotics Anonymous (Psychology)


· Employment A- Job Skills (Education)

· Interview Skills (Education)

· Resume Writing (Education)

· Mock Job Fair (Education)

Personal Finance/Consumer Skills

· PF-A Maintaining a Check book

· PF-B Living on a Budget/Release Gratuities

Information and Community Resources

· CR- A Veteran’s Benefits

· CR-B USPO- Role of the USPO and Supervision Requirements- THIS IS IMPORTANT TO TAKE!

Release Requirements and Procedures

· RR-A Release Methods and Procedures/Disposition of Personal Property/Clothing/Conditions of


Personal Growth and Development

· PG-A Brick Walls (Education)

· PG-B Breaking Barriers (Education)

· PG-C Esteem (Education)

· PG-D (15)hr. Drug Program (Psychology)

· PG-E Victim Impact

· PARENT- Parenting Program (Education)

· PG-F Anger Management (Psychology)

· PG-G Going for Gold (Chapel)

· PG-H Non Residential Drug Abuse Program (Psychology)

· PG-I Walking Your Faith (Chapel)

· PG-J Doing Time With the Right Mind (Psychology)

· PG-K Gamblers Anonymous (Psychology)

· PG-L Problem Solving Group (Psychology)

· PG-M 12 Step Addictions (Psychology)

Early Release Courses- finish requirements at institution.

· RDAP – Residential Drug Abuse Program

Fitness Goals

· Get to your desired weight

· Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Religious Goals

· Finish Religious Programs

Education Goals

· Complete GED programs and ESL Courses

Complete any other degree or education programs. Horticulture, and Culinary Classes are usually good classes and offered.

Congratulations you have finished the basic ADJUST phase in the Federal Inmate Process.

The other phases will be discussed as part of the Ties-2-Stripes "How to Survive the Federal Inmate Process" series.

Stay positive and focused!

*The information presented in this blog is NOT intended to give any legal, medical, or financial advice. It is for informational purposes only. Contact or visit the Bureau of Prisons at their website for all current rules, regulations, and policy statements

Your Systematic , Practical, and Realistic Survival Guide for "The Federal Inmate Process.".
Your Systematic , Practical, and Realistic Survival Guide for "The Federal Inmate Process.". | Source


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    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      3 years ago from San Diego California

      Hopefully I'll never have to do hard time, but I think you have found an interesting niche here with this topic, and I could see how you could get some good traffic from people getting ready to go in. Very thorough hub, I hope I never have to reread it in anticipation of undesirable changes in my place of residence.

    • Robert Warney profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Warney 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, NJ

      Yes, at Allenwood FCI, and Schuylkill Federal Prison Satellite Camp.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      3 years ago from Jamaica

      Were you an inmate?


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