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How to RELEASE from Federal Prison

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


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

This phase will teach you how to:

  • Depart: Early Release/Regular Programming, Furloughs, Escorted Trips

  • Comply with Regulations: Halfway Houses, Home Confinement, and Supervised Release

  • Restore Rights: Civil, Travel, Employment

There are currently four BOP programs available to get released early from the institution:

1. Residential Drug Abuse Program (discussed under the PREPARE Phase)

2. Second Chance Act Program

The Second Chance Act (SCA) expands the amount of time you can spend in a community corrections facility (Halfway House or CCM). It increases it up to 12 months at the end of your sentence and allows you to spend part of that time in home detention. Before this important sentence reduction legislation was signed into law by President Bush in 2008, the statutory maximum was 6 months or 10% of your sentence, whichever was less. The Second Chance Act was designed to help address the problems during your reentry back into the community after your incarceration. The Second Chance Act was designed, when appropriate, so that you are considered for up to 12 months pre-release Residential Reentry Center (RRC) placement, during which you may be transitionedto home confinement. Under the provisions of the Second Chance Act, you may spend up to a year in halfway house and/or home confinement instead of a federal prison. This can greatly reduce the your sentence and reduce the amount of time spent in federal prison. Most people do not receive the maximum time allowed in a halfway house, but you should work with your Case Manager to try to benefit from this Act.

The Second Chance Act directs the Bureau of Prisons to consider all the factors that would make such a placement appropriate. They must allow the inmate a fair and credible chance to get ready for reintroduction into society.

3. Commutation of Sentence Program

This program does not nullify the conviction, but rather just reduces the legal penalties and prison terms. You will have to Petition the Office of Pardon Attorney. After the Pardon attorney review the information they will make a recommendation to the President of the U.S. They are rarely approved.

4. Compassionate Release

Federal statute allows the Bureau of Prisons to request compassionate release for an offender in extraordinary circumstances.

The BOP recently modified its policy and has supported this more frequently. There are medical and non medical types of compassionate release.

Some of the requirements to be considered for compassionate release:


  • You have a terminal illness

  • You are confined to a wheelchair or bed for 50% or more of the day

  • You have children who has lost their non-incarcerated caregiver due to illness or death

  • Over age 65

  • Suffer from chronic or serious medical conditions related to the aging process

  • Experiencing deteriorating mental or physical health that substantially diminishes their ability to function in a correctional facility

  • Conventional treatment promises no substantial improvement to their mental or physical condition

  • ·Have served at least 50% of your sentence


  • Over 70 years of age and served over 30 years of your sentence

  • Over 65 years of age, and served over 10 years of your sentence or 75% of the term of imprisonment that you were sentenced.

A request for compassionate release has to be approved by:

· The Warden of the Institution

· The BOP in Washington

· Director of the BOP

· U.S. Attorney’s Office

· Sentencing Court

Two Early Release measures that can be filed by a motion:

1. Amendment 782 ("Drugs Minus 2")-Two point reduction forDrug Offenses. This is the most recent measure. Amendments to USSG §1B1.10: Retro-activity may lower your sentence by two levels according to the sentencing guidelines.

In April and July 2014, the U.S. Sentencing Commission made two significant amendments to

USSG §1B1.10 that affect motions for sentence reductions filed under 18 U.S.C.§ 3582(c)(2).

First, the Commission made amendment 782 retroactive. Amendment 782

changed the threshold amounts in the drug quantity tables at USSG §§2D1.1 and 2D1.11, so that

many, but not all, 2 drug quantities will have a base offense level that is two levels lower than

before the amendment.


· Potential to retroactively lower the base level offense by two levels. May affect up to 46,000 offenders. Average sentence reduction is 18%.

· Factors considered: Public Safety and Post Sentencing Conduct. No supervised release violations allowed.

· Not automatic. A motion must be filed per governing statute: 18 U.S.C. §3582(c)(2). The statute permits the motion to be filed by the court, BOP, or the prisoner.

· Order may be entered on/after November 1, 2014 with effective date on/after November 1, 2015 (earliest release date from BOP custody)

2. Rule 35 (b) Reduction of Sentence for Substantial Assistance


· May occur after your sentencing (similar to 5K that can be filed prior to your sentencing)

· Two types: (35 b1) within one year after sentencing and (35 b2) after one year your sentencing

· You provide substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person

· Government (U.S. Prosecutors Office) must file the motion with the courts on your behalf

· Original sentencing Judge will determine the possible reduction based on assistance rendered, nature and extent of information, truthfulness, completeness, reliability, danger or risk of injury to you or your loved ones.

· Court may reduce your sentence to a level below the minimum sentence established by statute.

Your plan should include understanding the different types of early release programs and motions, and applying for any that pertain to you


Furloughs- allows you to leave the institution for a stated purpose.

· A furlough is not an entitlement. Neither is it a reward for good behavior or successful

programming, nor a means to shorten a criminal sentence.

· Furloughs will be granted to eligible inmates to achieve specific correctional goals. Usually occur no more than one every 90 days.

· Request through your Team meeting

· The reduction of recidivism by securing transitional needs and enhance community

reintegration prior to release.

· The public will be protected from undue risk. Usually no restraints are used on you.

· Any inmate who violates a condition of furlough will be disciplined, according to the

severity of the violation.

· You bear all expenses

· Urinalysis given upon return or arrival at new institution

Two Types of Furloughs:

1. Transfer- from one institution to another and also to a CCC. Many time family members are allowed to drive you. Can’t be used to transfer to a Low, Medium or Higher Security level. You will be considered a fugitive and changed to “escape” status if you do no report on time.

2. Non-transfer- for any other reason besides going from one institution to another.

· Emergency- family crisis or urgent situation

· Routine- other than emergency reasons.

Day- Usually lasts up to 16 hours for structured programs.

Overnight- Usually last up to 3-7 calendar days

Escorted Trips

· Allows you to leave the institution and go into the community. Usually used for higher security levels

· Can be used to transfer you to other institutions

· You will be correctly supervised to protect the public from undue risk. Usually some form of restraints will be used

· Requests usually go through your Team meetings

· Normally you have to pay all costs incurred after the First Eight Hours

· There are two types of escorted trips Medical and Non-Medical

This Section will teach you how to Comply with:

· Halfway House Regulations

· Home Detention Rules

· Supervised Release Conditions

Halfway House

The terms "CCC", "Halfway House", or RRC are interchangeable and all refer to a contracted Residential Reentry Center (RRC). Some policies or older documents may use previous terms, however the current term, RRC, was implemented several years ago to more accurately convey the mission of the facility-facilitating reentry into the community.

They are also known as residential reentry centers.

Halfway House Basics:

· A facility usually located in the community and district where you will reside or close to it.They are still considered a “place of imprisonment”.

· Most are run by private contractors but remain under BOP control

· Conditions vary among Halfway Houses

· Usually inmates from the County, State and Federal Institutions occupy these facilities

· You will usually serve part of your sentence here. Usually no more than Twelve months is granted.

· Inmates with a high risk of recidivism, had a good adjustment to prison life, successful participation in prison programs, and lack of community support systems for housing and other essentials are most likely to get the most Halfway House time granted.

· BOP contracts with these facilities in the hope they can assist you transitioning back into your community by: assisting you with employment, housing substance abuse treatment, and medical and mental health care.

· Provide much greater liberties than prisons

· You can usually get a work pass during the day and request day passes for needed items and religious ceremonies. You can progress towards possible passes for home visits, weekend passes, and eventual home confinement.

· You can refuse to go to the Halfway House to serve the remaining term on your sentence

· Your Team will recommend placement into a Halfway House usually 17-19 months from your release date. Factors considered: the resources of the facility, the nature and circumstances of offense, the history and characteristic of the offender, statements by the courts and sentencing commission. Then complete a release preparation plan 11-13 months prior to your release. BOP not required to send you to a Halfway House.

· For Security reasons the BOP does not release your Halfway House location rather just the Regional Office responsible for you.

· Allows RDAP participants to continue their required treatment plans (1-4 hours each week) with the Transitional Drug Abuse Treatment (TDAT) programming.

· You are usually required to obtain employment and pay the Halfway House 25% of your gross income, but not more than the average daily cost to house you there which is usually around $70/day* whether you stay there or not. (* average cost RRC $72.91/day in 2013 - per Federal Register report dated 5/12/14)

· You are usually required to pay for your own medical care.

Who is not eligible for a Halfway House:

· Sex offenders

· Deportable Aliens

· Those requiring in-patient medical, psychological pr psychiatric treatment

· Refusal to participate in the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program

· Refusal to participate , withdraw or are expelled from a required Drug Abuse Education course

· Unresolved pending charges, or detainers, which will lead in arrest, conviction, or confinement

· Six months or less sentences

· Refusal to participate in the Institution Release Preparation Program

· Those that pose a significant threat to the community

· Pretrial, holdover, detained prisoners

Halfway House Components:

The component system is based on you taking greater responsibility for your actions and receiving greater rewards as you progress through the components. You will progress through the components based on your attitude and your ability to meet the responsibilities of each component. Increases in each component level are considered by your case manager, employment counselor, social service coordinator, director, probation office and the BOP. Certain BOP cases, depending on the offense, may remain in the pre-release component while other BOP cases may progress immediately from the Intake component to the Home Detention component.

Intake Component

· Obtain Halfway House (HWH) photo ID card

· Receive HWH handbook

· Tour facility

· Complete Emergency Contact Information form

· Complete screening, intake forms, and medical questionnaire

· If not released to home confinement (approved by BOP and the CCM), be assigned a room. Review count times and other resident rules, and arrange for your clothing and hygiene products to be dropped off

How to go directly on Home Confinement and not require a Halfway House stay:

· Have no Public Safety Factors

· Been able to show an excellent institutional adjustment

· Have a stable residence and a supportive family

· Have confirmed employment

· Have little of no need of the services of the HWH

· Eligibility is satisfied as indicated in the sentence computation report (Usually 10% remaining on your sentence with a maximum of 6 months whichever is shorter)

· You are still required to attend HWH orientation within the first two weeks. Accountability, transition skills, passes, cell phone policy, appropriate dress, disciplinary procedures, and program components will be discussed

· Normally you are required to meet with your Case Manager on a weekly basis the first six weeks, then bi-weekly meetings after six weeks.

Community Corrections- Employment Component:

· You must obtain employment within 21 days after completion of the HWH orientation program

· You must work 35-48 hours per week and the job has to be within 100 miles of the HWH

· Job search request forms and itinerary must be submitted and approved prior to any job visits

· You must attach proof of job offer with request form (newspaper ad, etc)

· Limit 2 job site visits per day and must be in the same city

· Job site visits are only allowed between the hours of 8:00 A.M.- 3:00 P.M. Monday-Friday for a maximum of 7 hours per day

· Request forms must be submitted at least one business day in advance of the job interview

· You must check in when you arrive at the job location and leave the job location from a phone land line

· HWH staff will call the potential employer to confirm the job interview

· Restrictions on type of employment that may apply while at the HWH:

1. Employment by family or relatives

2. Positions that require travel from one location to another, or where driving it the primary responsibility

3. Where direct contact by a phone land line is not possible

4. Entering private homes

5. Businesses that serve alcohol

6. Where commission can’t be documented

7. Self employment

8. Which may violate the conditions of your supervised release as indicated in the Judgment of Conviction.

· Once you get a job :

1. You must disclose your custody status and reveal your offense to the employer

2. The HWH will fax and Intent to Hire form to your employer

3. Once the Intent to Hire form is received back and reviewed for accuracy, the HWH will generate your work schedule

· HWH will visit job site within 7 days of your employment to complete employment verification

· You must remain at the job site at all times. If you leave, you must make a contact call to the HWH when leaving and returning. Lunch is limited to one hour a day

· Subsistence payments of 25% of your gross income (before taxes) rounded to the nearest whole dollar amount is required to be paid, via money order, to the HWH within 24 hours of your receiving your paycheck up to the required limits.

· You must provide the original pay stub showing hours worked, amount paid per hour, tax deductions, pay period, pay date, company name, and address, along with your name and address

· You must stay at job at least 30 days and may not quit your job without another one lined up, unless in extreme cases approved by staff

Pre-Release Component

· In the facility at least 14 days in good standing, secured full time employment at least 35 hours/week, acceptable progress in transition skills or other HWH required programs

· You can apply for Social Passes for personal need that may include:

1. Court appearances

2. Attorney meetings

3. Shopping trips (usually limited to once a month)

4. Medical appointments

5. Haircuts/Beauty salons

6. Banking

7. Religious services

8. Government mandated services


· You must bring back supporting documents or receipts to the HWH after all Social Passes

· You must call from a phone land line when you arrive and depart from the Social Pass locations

· You can’t purchase goods on a credit card, mail order, or lay away

· You can apply for weekend home passes if: You meet the above criteria and have made all your subsistence payments, had your home inspected, submitted proof of a dedicated phone line installed (copy of phone bill with no extra services on it) , are in good standing with the HWH and have no major incident reports

Home Confinement Component

· You successfully complete prior components (as discused you may be released to this component immediately)

· You can reside in your home after your

your home is inspected and dedicated phone line is verified

· Your eligibility date is satisfied as indicated in sentence computation report

· Usually can be for a period of the final 10% of your sentence or no more than 6 moths whichever is shorter

· Abide by curfew. Usually 6 A.M. to 9 P.M.

· Continue to pay your own medical expenses

· Still under BOP control

· May be subject to electronic monitoring devices (ankle bracelet)

· The manager of the HWH (CCM) and BOP must approve placement. They are not required to place you on home confinement.

· You will be routinely and randomly visited and called at home to verify your whereabouts

· You may be supervised by the HWH or a Federal Probation Officer from your district

· Other adults in the household approve of you staying there

· Remain employed and continue with subsidence payments as required

· Continue to meet with you Case Manager and take required courses at the HWH

· No alcohol or illegal drugs allowed

· You will be randomly tested for alcohol and illegal drugs. You have 2 hours to submit to a urine test and 15 minutes for alcohol breathalyzer. No poppy seeds allowed to be consumed

Driving/Vehicle Privilege approval process:

· You must submit a statement of reason to your Case Manager as to why you need a vehicle and must be able to have driving privileges. Usually issues such as employment situations, where the only way to get to your job is for you to drive, can be used as a reason. Permission granted from the Program Director at the HWH and the CCM.

· You will need a valid driver’s license, a raised seal original driving abstract from DMV, a copy of the vehicle registration, proof of insurance for the vehicle with you listed as an approved driver on the policy. Also, if someone else owns the vehicle a notarized letter from them giving you authorization to drive the vehicle

· The vehicle must be inspected by the HWH staff prior to approval

Supervised Release

Supervised Release - It is a term of supervision served after a person is released from prison. It is recommended in almost all Federal Sentences for most offenders serving over one year in Prison. The court imposes supervised release during sentencing in addition to the sentence of imprisonment. Unlike parole, supervised release does not replace a portion of the sentence of imprisonment but is in addition to the time spent in prison. U.S. probation officers, who are U.S. District Court Employees, supervise persons on supervised release. Currently there is no Federal Parole.


· You usually have to report within 72 hours of release to your Probation Officer

· Terms usually range from One to Five Years depending on the severity of your crime

A term of supervised release under 18 U.S.C. § 3583 is:

· Not more than 5 years for a Class A or Class B felony

· Not more than 3 years for a Class C or Class D felony

· Not more than 1 year for a Class E felony or a misdemeanor, other than a petty offense.

You can be considered for termination of supervised release after you have served one year.

Early termination of a term of supervised release is determined by several factors under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). These factors are:

  • The nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant

  • The need for the sentence to reflect the seriousness of the offense

  • The need for the sentence to promote respect for the law

  • The need for the sentence to provide just punishment for the offense

· You are usually required to serve out the entire term of your supervision. Around 15% of cases end in early termination.

· Accomplishes enforcing the court’s orders, protects the community, and provides treatment and assistance.

· You will have to complete Net Worth Statement and Monthly Cash Flow Statement forms, and give them to your Probation Officer

· Release Conditions: Prohibit possession of guns or other weapons, prohibit contact with victims or witnesses, restrict association with certain persons (other felons), restrict travel(out of your Judicial District without permission) and possibly impose a curfew, and work at a lawful occupation.

· Community Service, Mental Health Treatment, and Substance Abuse treatment may be required.

· You will set up an installment payment plan with your Probation Officer to pay back your special assessments, fines and/or restitution if any outstanding balances exist.

· Monthly Supervision reports are usually required to be completed (most are online) by you and submitted to your Probation Officer within the first five days of each month. You will be emailed your Logon ID and temporary password from your Probation Officer to access these online reports. They take about ten minutes to complete online after your initial submission of all the required information.

· Monthly Supervision reports usually ask you about: employment, vehicles, finances, possible questioning by law enforcement, arrests, contact with other people with criminal records, firearm possessions, illegal drug use or possession, travel outside of the probation district, payment of special assessments, fines and restitution. It is a Class “D” felony to make a false statement on this report.

· Your Probation Officer will visit you at your home and work.

· You will be randomly drug tested Usually within the first 15 days of your Release and two times thereafter. No excessive alcohol consumption.

· Automatic revocation offenses: possession of a firearm, and testing positive for illegal drugs more than three times a year. If the term of supervised release is revoked, this means that the defendant will have to serve all or part of their supervised release term in prison.

Your Plan should include understanding and complying with all the rules and regulations of HWH, Home Confinement, and Supervised Release.

This Section will teach you how to Restore your Rights:

· Civil

· Employment

· Travel

Civil Rights


The power of the states to deny the right to vote because of participation in a crime is expressly recognized in the Fourteenth Amendment. U.S. Const. amend. XIV, ' 2. See generally Richardson v. Ramirez, 418 U.S. 24 (1974). The effect of a federal felony conviction upon the right to vote is determined by the law of the state in which the felon seeks to vote, and varies from state to state.

States vary by voting restrictions ranging from:

· No restrictions

· Ending after Release

· Ending after Release, Conclusion of Probation/Supervised Release

· Ending after Release, Probation/Supervised Release, and also based on circumstance of the crime

· Must file a petition with the State to regain for all Ex-Felons

· As of 2010 an estimated 5.9 million Americans are denied the right to vote because of a felony conviction, a number equivalent to 2.5% of the U.S. voting-age population and a sharp increase from the 1.2 million people affected by felony disenfranchisement in 1976.(* Pilkington, Ed. July 13, 2012. "Felon voting laws to disenfranchise historic number of Americans in 2012". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-07.)


A federal felony conviction bars you, under federal law, from obtaining, receiving, transporting, or possessing any firearm or ammunition as a convicted felon. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) states that anyone "who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" is barred from possessing a gun. The only felonies that are not covered by the federal gun ban are 1) those "pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade, or other similar offenses relating to the regulation of business practices," per 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(A); and 2) felony convictions from foreign countries, per Small v. United States, --- U.S. ---, 2005 WL 946620 (April 26, 2005).


18 USC § 922(g) & (n). Punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. May receive

minimum sentence of 15 years without parole if offender has three or more prior

convictions for a felony crime of violence (e.g. burglary, robbery, assault, possession

of offensive weapons) and/or drug trafficking felony.

Can you get your Gun Rights back? In theory yes, but it is highly unlikely under the current law.

Three possible ways in theory:

1. You can make application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) under 18 U.S.C. § 925(c) to request restoration of your gun rights.

In theory it is can be granted if: "it is established . . . that the circumstances . . . and the applicant's record and reputation, are such that the applicant will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety and that the granting of the relief would not be contrary to the public interest." The problem is that since October 1992, Congress has restricted and banned all funding to BATF to investigate or act on such applications. BATF claims that as long as this ban remains in place, it cannot process such applications. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling and upheld that the BATF did not have to review applications due to lack of funding. U.S. v. Bean, 537 U.S. 71, (2002). Currently not a real option.

2. A Presidential Pardon. You must apply under 28 CFR § 1.1-1.10. A person is not considered convicted for Gun Control Act purposes if he has been pardoned, had his civil rights restored, or the conviction was expunged or set aside, unless the pardon, expungement, or restoration expressly provides the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms. Usually there is a five year waiting period. Highly unlikely a Presidential Pardon will be granted.

3. Expungement. Currently this is no Expungement process in place for a Convicted Federal Felon to get his civil and gun rights restored. There are three limited instances where you may be able to have your Federal Charges Expunged by the Federal Courts and get your gun rights restored:

· Government misconduct occurred. By Investigators: Coercing false confessions, employing suggestions in the Identification Procedures, and misleading Jurors intentionally. By Prosecutors: Mistreating or mishandling evidence deliberately, withholding exculpatory evidence, and allow witnesses who are not truthful to testify.

· Unconstitutional Law: You would have to prove that you were convicted of a law that’s unconstitutional.

· Drug Possession Crime. If you were placed on Pre-Judgment Probation for a simple drug possession under Section 404 of the Controlled Substance Act you have a chance. Some conditions may include: You were under 21 at the time of conviction, not involved in any other related offenses, no civil penalty for the crime, five years since the time of conviction, you have paid your fine, you have a clean drug test.

It is very unlikely the federal Courts will grant an expungement. It is very unlikely the Federal Courts will grant an expungement.

Two current proposed laws to allow for a Federal Expungement process are:

. Fresh Start Act H.R. 2449. Sponsored by Representative Cohen. Allows expungement if such individual: (1) has never been convicted of any criminal offense other than the nonviolent offenses committed in a single criminal episode that includes the offense for which expungement is sought; (2) has fulfilled all requirements of the sentence of the court, including payment of all fines, restitution, or assessments and completion of terms of imprisonment and probation; and (3) has remained free (if required by the court's sentence) from dependency on or abuse of alcohol or a controlled substance for at least one year.

· Redeem Act. Sponsored by Senators Rand Paul, and Cory Booker. Amends the federal criminal code to provide a process for the sealing or expungement of records relating to nonviolent or juvenile offenses. Requires a court considering a petition to seal a nonviolent offense to balance factors including the harm of the protected information to the ability of the petitioner to secure and maintain employment.


Right to Serve on a Federal Jury

Conviction in federal or state court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year disqualifies an individual from serving on a federal grand or petit jury if his civil rights have not been restored. 28 U.S.C. ' 1865(b)(5). Most if not all Federal Felonies are punishable by imprisonment of more than one year. It does not mean you served the time just that the punishment allowed for imprisonment of more than one year.


This may be the most frustrating obstacle many people with felony convictions face when trying to get back into their communities. Stay positiveand focus your attention in job areas that will allow you to grow and become successful at what you do. Over 80% of companies now do some sort of criminal backgrounds check on employees that they hire. Be upfront and honest on all job applications about your prior convictions. Remember you are not alone and many successful people searching for jobs have criminal records. Update your resume, sharpen your interviewing skills, and be confident when you are searching for a job. Take advantage of all available resources and grants to assist you in your job search.

Depending upon the statutory provisions of your crime it may or may not be an absolute bar to employment. The following jobs may place licensing restrictions on you. Many of them have a ten year waiting period before applying for licensure after a felony conviction.

· Members of the retail banking, securities and commodities industry

· Insurance Brokers

· Medical doctors and other workers in the health care field

· Accountants

· Lawyers

· Fiduciaries for trusts

· Real estate brokers and salespersons

· Architects

· Engineers

· Professional Planners

· Psychologists

· Teachers

· School administrators

Also other occupations may be restricted or barred: right to serve in the armed forces, being a police officer, and certain high level roles within Labor Organizations (usually 13 year waiting period).

Good job opportunities for Federal felons if you are not barred from the sentencing court in obtaining:

· Start your own business

· Independent Contractors

· Search privately owned small businesses/Family Business openings

· Buy and Sell online like using Ebay

· Sales Jobs especially selling cars

· Chef/Food Service Industry

· Photographer

· Apprenticeships

· Truck/Delivery Drivers

· Temp Agencies

· Construction Sector

· Off Shore Drilling

Beware of employment scams that promise big pay and little work from home. Be honest on all job applications. Concentrate on job sectors that may hire your and don’t waste al ot of time with companies or occupations that won’t hire you. Go back to school and also obtain new job training skills if needed.

Federal Bonding Program Highlights

Program Background:

In 1966, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) created the Federal Bonding Program (FBP) as an employer job-hire incentive that guaranteed the job honesty of at-risk job seekers. Federal financing of Fidelity Bond insurance, issued free-of-charge to employers, enabled the delivery of bonding services as a unique job placement tool to assist ex-offenders, and other at-risk/hard-to-place job applicants (e.g., recovering substance abusers, welfare recipients, poor credits, etc.) The various State Employment Services (ES) comprised the national delivery system for issuing to employers the bonds that USDOL had purchased from the Aetna Casualty and Surety Company (now owned by and operated as Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America; referred to hereafter as TRAVELER.).

When you combine figures for the U.S. inmate population and the offender population in the free community who are now on probation or parole, the total number of persons “under correctional supervision” approaches 7 million individuals (1 in every 32 U.S. adults). More than 600,000 inmates are released from prison or jail annually. Past experiences reveal that 67% of them will be recidivists (i.e., return to crime and incarceration within three years of their release). Failure to become employed after release is a major factor contributing to the high rate of recidivism.

What Is Fidelity Bonding?

· Insurance to protect employer against employee dishonesty

· Covers any type of stealing: theft, forgery, larceny, and embezzlement

· In effect, a guarantee of worker job honesty

· An incentive to the employer to hire an at-risk job applicant

· A unique tool for marketing applicants to employers

· DOES NOT cover ‘liability” due to poor workmanship, job injuries, work accidents, etc.

· Is NOT a bail bond or court bond needed in adjudication

· Is NOT a bond needed for self-employment (contract bond, license bond or performance bond

Why Is Fidelity Bonding Needed for Job Placement?

· Employers view ex-offenders and other at-risk job seekers as potentially untrustworthy workers, thereby, denying them job-hire

· Insurance companies will not cover risky job applicants under commercial Fidelity Bonds purchased by employers to protect themselves against employee dishonesty

· Anyone who has ever “committed a fraudulent or dishonest act” is deemed NOT BONDABLE by insurance companies, a situation leading to routine denial of employment opportunities for such persons.

· Being NOT BONDABLE is a significant barrier to employment possessed by the hardest-to-place job applicants; this barrier can be eliminated only by The Federal Bonding Program.

· Job bonding enables the employer to “obtain worker skills without taking risk”

· Persons who are NOT BONDABLE can ultimately become commercially BONDABLE by demonstrating job honesty during the 6 months of bond coverage under the Federal Bonding Program.

The JOB PLACEMENT AGENCY: This is the organization that purchased a fidelity bond package from The McLaughlin Company. The bonds are to be issued to employers, free-of-charge, as an incentive for the hiring of ex-offenders and other at-risk job applicants. These job hires must earn wages subject to automatic paycheck deductions for Federal taxes.

Who Is Eligible for Bonding Services?

· Any at-risk job applicant is eligible for bonding services, including: ex-offenders, recovering substance abusers (alcohol or drugs), welfare recipients and other persons having poor financial credit, economically disadvantaged youth and adults who lack a work history, and individuals dishonorably discharged from the military.

· Anyone who cannot secure employment without bonding

· All persons bonded must meet the legal working age set by the State in which the job exists

· Self-employed persons are NOT ELIGIBLE for bonding services (bondee must be an employee who earns wages with Federal taxes automatically deducted from paycheck)

· Bonds can be issued to cover already employed workers who need bonding in order to (a) prevent being laid off, or (b) secure a transfer or promotion to a new job at the company

· Bonding coverage can apply to any job at any employer in any State

Bond Insurance amounts.

Bonds are issued in units of $5,000. One unit of bond insurance coverage is usually sufficient to cover most job placements. Prior to issuing bond amounts larger than $5,000 (never more than five bond units or $25,000 coverage), approval must be obtained from the State Bonding Coordinator. The bond issued has no deductible amount; the employer receives the total amount of the covered loss up to the full amount of the bond insurance. Although it is critical that the bond amount be tailored to the amount of goods or money that is at risk, one-stop staff should avoid indicating that amounts higher than one unit of bond insurance are possible.

The bonds are to be issued to employers, free-of-charge, as an incentive for the hiring of ex-offenders and other at-risk job applicants.

More questions or information about Federal Bonding can be obtained by calling:


State Bonding Coordinators:


Work Opportunity Tax Credit

WOTC’s Purpose:

· To promote the hiring of individuals who qualify as a member of a target group

· To provide a federal tax credit to employers who hire these individuals

· One of the targeted groups for the program is :

Qualified ex-felon. An ex-felon who has been convicted of a felony under any federal or state law,and is hired not more than 1 year after the conviction or release from prison for that felony.

How does WOTC Work?

The tax credit employers can claim depends on the target group of the individual hired, the wages paid to that individual in the first year of employment, and the number of hours that individual worked. There is also a maximum tax credit that can be earned.

· If the individual works at least 120 hours (but less than 400 hours), the employer may claim a tax credit equal to 25% of the individual's first year wages of $6000 = $1500 maximum tax credit earned.

· If the individual works at least 400 hours, the employer may claim a tax credit equal to 40% of the individual's first year wages of $6000 = $2400 maximum tax credit earned.

How do I Apply?

1. Complete page 1 of IRS Form 8850 by the day the job offer is made.

2. Complete page 2 of IRS Form 8850 after the individual is hired.

3. Complete ETA Form 9061 or ETA Form 9062 if the employee has been conditionally certified as belonging to a WOTC target group by a state workforce agency, Vocational Rehabilitation agency, or another participating agency.

4. Submit the completed and signed IRS and ETA forms to your state workforce agency. Forms must be submitted within 28 calendar days of the employee's start date.

PDF file that you can fill out online and print out :

Additional questions or needed forms can be obtained from your State Workforce Agency listed below if needed.

States may accept applications via mail, fax, or e-mail or may have an automated WOTC process that accepts electronic submissions. If you are not sure how your state accepts applications, contact your state WOTC coordinator, or view our chart on state submission method.


Under Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution the President can grant pardons for the offender of crimes against the United State (Federal Felonies).

What is a Presidential Pardon?

“A pardon is an expression of the President’s forgiveness and ordinarily is granted in recognition of the applicant’s acceptance of responsibility for the crime and established good conduct for a significant period of time after conviction or completion of sentence. It does not signify innocence. It does, however, remove civil disabilities – e.g., restrictions on the right to vote, hold state or local office, or sit on a jury – imposed because of the conviction for which pardon is sought, and should lessen the stigma arising from the conviction. It may also be helpful in obtaining licenses, bonding, or employment. Under some – but not all – circumstances, a pardon will eliminate the legal basis for removal or deportation from the United States.” (Taken from the U.S. Department of Justice website: ). It is not an expungment.

When are they Granted?

In general, a pardon is granted on the basis of the petitioner's demonstrated good conduct for a substantial period of time after conviction and service of sentence. The Department's regulations require a petitioner to wait a period of at least five years after conviction or release from confinement (whichever is later) before filing a pardon application (28 C.F.R. § 1.2). In determining whether a particular petitioner should be recommended for a pardon, the following are the principal factors taken into account.

· Post-conviction conduct, character, and reputation

· Seriousness and relative recentness of the offense.

· Acceptance of responsibility, remorse, and atonement.

· Need for relief.

· Official recommendations and reports

How often are they Granted: NOT OFTEN!

By the numbers:

2013- Pardon Petitions Received 303, Pardon Petitions granted 17

2012-Pardon Petitions Received 383, Pardon Petitions granted 5

To Apply for a pardon:

Contact :By Mail

Correspondence to the Department of Justice, Office of the Pardon Attorney, may be sent to:

Office of the Pardon Attorney

1425 New York Avenue, N.W.

Suite 11000

Washington, D.C. 20530

Phone: (202) 616-6070

Travel Rights


You can usually obtain a Passport with a Federal Felony conviction. Certain restrictions may apply:

· Felony drug convictions (22 U.S.C. 2714- International Drug trafficking)

· Arrears in child support over $5000.00

· Unpaid Federal loans, being a minor (under the age of 16) without parental consent

· Formally declared incompetent

· Deemed a threat to National Security by The State Department.

Travel restrictions vary by Country. Some countries have no restrictions, while others like Canada can restrict your entry for a drunken driving conviction. Fortunately many of these countries, including Canada, have procedures and a process in place to allow some felons to enter their countries. Most Countries have an Embassy website to help explain the process that will allow you legal entry into their country.

Countries that have extradition laws with the U.S.:

Albania Antigua and Barbuda Argentina

Australia Austria Bahamas

Barbados Belgium Belize

Bolivia Brazil Bulgaria

Burma Canada Columbia

Congo Costa Rica Cuba

Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark

Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador

Egypt El Salvador Estonia

Fiji Finland France

Gambia Germany Ghana

Greece Grenada Guatemala

Guyana Haiti Honduras

Hong Kong Hungary Iceland

India Ireland Israel

Italy Jamaica Japan

Jordan Kenya Kiribati

South Korea Latvia Lesotho

Liberia Liechtenstein Lithuania

Luxembourg Malawi Malaysia

Malta Mauritius Mexico

Monaco Nauru Netherlands

New Zealand Nicaragua Norway

Pakistan Panama Papua New Guinea

Paraguay Peru Philippines

Poland Portugal Romania

Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

San Marino Seychelles Sierra Leone

Singapore Slovak Republic Solomon Islands

South Africa Spain Sri Lanka

Suriname Swaziland Sweden

Switzerland Tanzania Thailand

Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Turkey

Tuvalu United Kingdom Venezuela

Yugoslavia Zambia Zimbabwe

Notable Countries with no extradition laws with the U.S. include: France, Brazil, China, and Russia, Cuba, Morocco, Indonesia, and Andorra.

Congratulations! You have finished the basic RELEASE phase of 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.

Continue to stay positive! You are a survivor that will return to becoming a productive member of your community. Enjoy and cherish every moment with your loved ones.

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



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