Chapter 13

Prison Transportation System

If you are taken into custody immediately after sentencing or if you have to go back to court, you will be transported by prison busses and/or planes.

Unlike Greyhound the prison Transportation System has all the inconveniences with none of the comforts. You can end up spending several weeks at a hub or holding facility.  Some temporary housing facilities are more pleasant than others, but none are anywhere near as comfortable as your assigned facility.

Sometimes a real life experience is better than cold facts.  Here is one story in the inmate’s own words:

            The transportation system of the B.O.P. is truly unique.  It is not designed

            for comfort, speed, or to take advantage of luxury accommodations. It

            is designed to move large numbers of inmates from point A to point B

            quickly and cheaply.

            I was unable to self-surrender to my assigned facility on my own so I

            turned myself in to the closest U.S. Marshalls office.  I became just like

            someone who was sentenced and taken into custody.

            I was initially placed in a small holding cell awaiting transportation to the

            federal holding facility.

            All moves I made from here were very uncomfortable.  You are required to

            be handcuffed and shackled for all movements.  The transportation means

            are often old and very overcrowded.

            After several hours of very slow in-processing I was moved across town to the

            Federal holding facility at the city jail.  My stay here was a nightmare.  The

            Facility was old, dirty, and very overcrowded.  It housed criminals of all kinds.

            There were some very scary people there. I saw several fights and many,

            many shouting and shoving matches.

            We were on lock down most of the time with no recreation time.  The food

            was not bad, considering, but there was not much of it.  Eat it! You will need

            all your strength.

            Sleeping was difficult so sleep whenever you can.  The noise level was

horrendous almost 24-7.

Early one morning I was called out to move with no notice.  We were herded-out after

 same out-processing to an old van, packed 3-4 to a seat.  They were hard

bench seats with no seat belts.  We were locked into the caged rear of the van.  It

was an uncomfortable hour- plus ride.

Upon arrival at the county jail we were place in a small holding cell with

barely enough room for everyone to stand. After several hours we were finally

in-processed then moved to the federal holding pod.

There were 2-man cells with a large open bay with tables and a T.V.  We had some

 time out of the cells, but most of the time was spent in the cells, perhaps as much

 as 16-18 hours a day.

The food was terrible and sparse. County jails make a lot of money

 housing Federal inmates and that money “Helps” feed everyone else in the jail.  So you

can expect to eat a lot of beans and rice.  We were lucky to see meat every

 other day.

It never failed that everywhere I went they finally let me go to the commissary and

 we were moved the next day! Don’t buy much at the commissary because

you can’t take anything with you on your moves.  I lost two bibles that way.

Finally one morning we were called out and told we had 5 minutes to move

 down to the doors to meet the bus.  We were then out-processed from

county and processed for movement by the B.O.P.  It was our first contact

 with the B.O.P. The guards on the bus do not mess around. Listen closely

to their instructions and do exactly what they tell you.

We were moved from here to our first Federal facility in Atlanta.  Atlanta is the

processing center for the southeast region.

We were moved by a converted Greyhound bus to Atlanta.  It had hard seats

 with no seat belts.  The entire bus was caged and barred.  The guards were

 armed with shotguns and side arms (Pistols).  As I said, they mean business.

 It was a long crowed bus ride.

Arrival in Atlanta was somewhat overwhelming.  The Atlanta Penitentiary

 has a well deserved reputation as a bad place to do time.  It looks like an

ancient castle. It is very imposing and scary.  The staff is tough and they do

not play games.  In-processing is slow, tedious, and unnerving at times.  Pay

 attention at all times.

After in-processing we were finally divided into groups and moved to our

cell blocks.  There are two man cells but most had four men in them.

The prison is very old and dirty.  It is cold in the winter and sweltering in the


The food is okay but there is very little of it.  Eat it all to keep up your

strength.  You may or may not get commissary depending how long you

are there.

In Atlanta you are on lockdown 23 hours a day.  During your hour out

of your cell you must get a shower and make your telephone call.  The

 lines are long for both so you may not have time to do both.  Manage

your time out of your cell.

At approximately 2 A.M. one morning the guards woke me up to get

 ready to move.  Several hours later they came and got me.  They moved

 me to out-processing.  Again, it was slow and tedious but it had to be

 done. Be patient and be quiet.

We boarded a similar bus we had ridden on earlier.  This time we were transported to

Tallahassee, Florida.  It was a long bus ride with many, many, many, stops.

Arrival in Tallahassee was very much like Atlanta in-processing without the

 fear factor. It was orderly but not overwhelming and intimidating.

Tallahassee has two men cells but they normally have four men

 per cell. They are exceedingly over crowded.  Your are only locked down at night


The food is excellent and plentiful.  If you are hungry in Tallahassee it is your own


There is also a nice recreation area but it is small. You may get outside only

 an hour a day.  Get out side and get some air.  The weather is nice there.

My final trip on my B.O.P. journey was again by bus.  It was slow and we

 had to stop many times.  But I finally arrived at my final destination.

Try to avoid this if at all possible by self-surrendering at you designated facility.

You’ll be glad you did.

There are many stories like this.  All those interviewed advised you should eat.  The stress and uncertainty will be compounded by hunger.

Diesel Therapy

Although the B.O.P. denies it, there are many accounts of inmates being transported from facility to facility for short periods of time, sometimes even a day or two.  Then they would be whisked away at night to another destination somewhere far away.

It is rumored these are inmates that had filed too many complaints. More likely the cause is when an inmate has many co-defendants that testified against them.  Someone reports that they are not supposed to be together so the newest inmate gets back on the bus.

Anyway it is a favorite horror story to new inmates that one person knew someone from somewhere else.


Chapter 11

Chapter 14

Table of Contents

Glossary Terms