Federal Bureau of Prisons

Posted: December 27, 2012 in Preparation

The Federal Bureau of Prisons, also known as the “BOP” (which most inmates will tell you stands for “Backwards on Purpose”).  This agency has the duty of designating and warehousing Federal Inmates while they serve their federal sentences.  As an inmate you have very little contact with the BOP, but you will experience all of the Red Tape that they create.  For the most part you will just be staying at one of their fine facilities.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons was established to give “more progressive and humane care for Federal inmates, to professionalize the prison service, and to ensure consistent and centralized administration”.  At least this is what their website says.  They are responsible for 118 institutions, 6 regional offices, a central office, 2 training centers, and 22 residential re-entry offices.

This BOP is supposed to protect public safety by ensuring that Federal inmates serve their sentence in facilities that are “safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secured”.  They also are supposed to reduce the potential of recidivism through “programs that have been proven to reduce recidivism”.

The one decent service the Federal Bureau of Prisons offers is the Federal Inmate Locator Service.  You can enter the person’s name, age, race and/or registration number (actually the best way of locating someone in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system), and find out what federal prison that inmate is currently incarcerated in.  This system will also tell you if that inmate was released or is in a federal halfway house.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons website (www.bop.gov) also will give you information about specific prisons (phone numbers and address), directions, visiting hours, visiting policy and in some cases a photo.  Keep in mind that this information is not always up to date and each prison has their own rules about things like visitation, commissary, etc.  It will however give you a good idea of what to expect.

If you are a self-surrender it’s a good idea to call the prison before you get there to understand exactly where you need to go and what you will need to have with you when you arrive.  This will save you having to “donate” your clothes, shoes, etc. to the BOP.

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