What Is the Release Process for Federal Prison?
At some point, your prison sentence will end and you will be released. When that happens, you do not simply leave the facility. There is a release process for federal prison that you will need to follow.
What steps are in the release process for federal prison?
Release from federal prison is a multi-step process:
- Release preparation. The BOP will begin to prepare you for release 18 months before your release date. Much of this focuses on preparing you to find work after you leave prison. The program includes classes on topics such as job search, résumé writing and job retention.
- Transfer to pre-release custody. In many cases, you won’t go straight from prison to your home. The federal system uses a system called pre-release custody. By law, you should be allowed to spend the last part of your sentence in pre-release custody. This could be in a halfway house, community corrections center or in-home confinement.
- Supervised release. In the federal system, “supervised release” takes the place of parole. You will spend some time after your actual release from custody under supervision. The conditions of this depend on many factors, including the crime that sent you to prison and your behavior inside.
- Full release. After you complete your supervised release, you will finish your sentence in full. You won’t have to report to the BOP or anyone else anymore.
Will you get any money or other items when you are released?
The law says that the BOP “shall provide” you with some items to help your re-entry.
- Suitable clothing. The BOP will give you “street clothes” to wear when you leave prison.
- “Gate money.” The director at your prison will decide how much money to give you when you leave. This amount is limited to $500 by law.
How will you get home after release?
The BOP will give you a ride to where you need to go. By default, you will either go to where you lived before prison, or to your family home. The director at your prison can also authorize transportation to take you to any other location within the United States.
Can you take your things from prison with me when you are released?
Yes. You can take belongings from your time in prison with you when you leave. Certain items such as photos, letters or even clothing may have special meaning to you. It is okay to take them with you. You may want to take an inventory of what you have and keep some of the essentials. If your sentence was longer, it is possible you may not know where you are going to live following your release. As a result, you may not know what you will need after you leave prison.
If you don’t want to take your belongings with you, you can give them to other prisoners. If there are items you don’t need or want to take with you, someone you have been incarcerated with may want them.
There is a multi-step process for release from federal prison. You will first go through release preparation, then pre-release custody and then supervision. After you complete these steps you will have a full release from the BOP system.
The BOP will arrange transportation for you, either to your home or the place where you were convicted. If you want to take your belongings with you from prison, you can. However, some of these items may be more useful to people who are still incarcerated.
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