How Do You Request to Move Federal Prisons?
There are many reasons you might want to request to move federal prisons. You may want to be closer to friends and family. Another prison may be able to treat your medical condition better. Or you may want to move for safety reasons. Whatever the reason, you can ask the Bureau of Prisons to move you.
How does the BOP decide where to house federal prisoners?
The BOP has sole discretion over prisoner housing. That means that the BOP has the final say over where you will serve your sentence.
According to its policies, the BOP should make every effort to house you fewer than 500 miles from your home. They also use other factors to decide where to house you:
- The level of security you need
- The level of medical care you need
- Any program you may need, such as substance abuse treatment, job training or mental health treatment
- Other administrative concerns such as any separation needs, witness safety (if you testified in another incarcerated person’s case, for example), capacity, and others
These factors and others determine where the BOP houses you during your sentence.
How do you request to move prisons?
Requesting to move prisons is a formal process. And so there are a few steps you need to take. Here is how to make a formal request to move prisons.
- Write a letter requesting a transfer. This letter is your formal transfer request. You will need to explain why you want to transfer prisons. If you cannot provide a good reason to support your transfer, the BOP will likely deny your request.
- Get support from friends and family. Nobody but you can request for you to move prisons. However, your family and friends can write letters to support your case. For example, if you are requesting to move closer to your home, family members can explain the benefits of having you closer.
- Wait for the warden’s decision. In most cases, you will get a decision within seven days. The warden will talk to you and explain their decision.
- Appeal if you need to. If the warden denies your request, you can still appeal their decision.
- Wait for your transfer. Once the warden grants your transfer request, your transfer will happen when the BOP can accommodate it. This will depend on many factors, such as bed space and transportation. You could wait for weeks or you could transfer in a matter of hours after getting your notice.
Your housing plays a direct role in your physical and mental health. There is no harm in making a request to move prisons. If you think another location can help you rehabilitate better, don’t be afraid to ask.
If the BOP denies your request, you can seek legal help. And if the BOP violates your other rights, you can seek legal help, too. For example, if your request is for medical or religious reasons, you have rights that the BOP must respect.