BOP Facility Assignment

Friday, September 2nd, 2011 |

I have time, a lot of time.  So, I wanted to give you more information for the circumstances leading me to going to the hole. But first let me tell you a little bit about how BOP assigns inmates to facilities.  BOP reserves the right to decide which prison an inmate is placed. However, the presiding judge in the case can make a recommendation. BOP decides whether to accept the recommendation, or not. They will consider the length of the sentence, available space at different facilities, and the inmate’s security threat.

In order of security restriction, the five prisons at Butner are classified as Medium/High (really a high), Medium, Low, a federal medical center (FMC) or the Camp (minimal). Butner has all these prison facilities on one very large campus. The FMC houses inmates with serious or chronic medical conditions. FMC’s are considered high security since it houses inmates of all security levels catering to greatest threat. The threat level of a inmate is typically determined in the inmate’s Pre-Sentence Report.

My Assignment

In my case, I had never been in trouble with the law.  I have a short sentence of 5 years, but presumably will be reduced for good time and halfway house or home confinement time.  I have no history of violence or substance abuse. These factors yield me low points.  Therefore, I was eligible for a camp. We asked the judge to recommend the camp in Pensacola, He accepted our request because my mother lives about an hour away and it was convenient to my other family members.

However, the Probation Office (PO) got the judge to change his recommendation to an FMC because of my heart disease after the hearing, and unbeknownst to me. Eventually I found out about the recommendation, which caused me to great distress.  I obviously did not want to spend time, in what amounted to, a maximum-security prison.

We got the BOP to agree to place me in the camp at Butner, NC.  The argument being that I would be placed in an appropriately security level prison that would have an FMC available, if I needed medical care. This was an excellent compromise even if it were a greater distance from my family.

BOP Screw-Up

BOP also has a policy that co-defendants in an active case cannot be placed in the same facility. In addition, co-defendants cannot be placed in the same facility if there is reason to believe that it would case a threat to one of those co-defendants.  There is an BOP department assigned to making inmate assignment, and to specifically to prevent all the conflicts from happening. It is Central Inmate Monitoring Services (CIMS).

About 45 days or so before I was supposed to have reported, I went to BOP’s inmate locator website and searched for each of my co-defendants.  I noted that one co-defendant was at Butner Low. This did not concern me much because I thought I was scheduled for the Camp. A few days before my report date, I called Butner to ask a few questions about reporting. They told me to report to Low. I said no, that I was scheduled for the Camp. They said “No – You are scheduled for Low” and the discussion ended.

I was very upset because I knew that my co-defendant was there and I wanted the lower security of the Camp.  We optimistically thought that perhaps the Receiving & Discharge (R&D) was all through the Low. They also probably wanted to evaluate my medical condition at the Low before transferring me to the Camp.  These were wrong assumptions.  The Camp is a satellite of the Medium, so the Medium is where campers are processed through R&D.

Now I Wait

Not long after I arrived at Low, I discovered that BOP was not going to transfer me to the Camp for at least 6-8 months. I knew that was going to be a problem because inevitably I would run into my co-defendant. Sure enough, as I have previously written, my co-defendant saw me walking into Health Services.   So, here I sit in the SHU while the BOP sorts everything out!

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