Chapter 15

A Few Legal Matters

The vast majority of inmates come in with a problem or legal surprise that could have been taken care of with a brief meeting with their attorney.  All they needed was to ask their attorney to handle some routine paperwork.

This chapter is not a complete list of things that may need to be taken care of, but it is a start.


Detainers are pending charges or indictments by the state or local D.A.  You many not even be aware of them.  You may think that they were already dropped. Surprise!

Have your attorney thoroughly check to make sure there are absolutely, positively no pending charges.  If you were indicted by the state or local authorities have your attorney get verification in writing any and all pending charges and indictments have been dropped!

After you attorney has verified this, have him do it again.  Make sure there are no warrants or anything else that may cause a detainer in the criminal system.

Failing to have all this cleared up will cause you and your family an incredible amount of heartache as well as more legal expenses. It may also mean the difference between a camp and a low or higher level of facility.

If you have to go back to court you will be required to use the Federal Correctional Transportation System. (See diesel therapy for more details in Chapter 13.) Not pleasant.


You may find some financial protection from the government by legally separating.   You need to meet with your attorney on this matter.

You can be legally separated but your spouse and children have full visitation privileges.  You can still keep your wedding ring.


If you’ve haven’t used drugs or alcohol in the past 5 years your attorney can ask the judge to waive drug testing during probation.  It doesn’t mean your probation officer can’t ask for a drug test, just they won’t have to.  It is a small thing but one less inconvenience.


You can ask the judge to ask the BOP that you be sent to a specific facility.  The BOP does not have to grant it.  But the judge does carry a little weight.


Participants in the Residential Drug Alcohol Program are eligible for up to a year off plus six months halfway house.  The terms and qualifications are always changing but in most cases if you have an enhancement for gun charges, environmental hazard, public safety, or manslaughter you don’t qualify.

Get your attorney to ask the judge to recommend you for the program.   Once again the BOP does not have to grant it, but it doesn’t hurt.


If you have court ordered restitution to a victim or witness that fear (no matter how unreasonably) retribution from you, the prosecutor can flag you for VWNP.

Your attorney will probably not know about this secret program.  The prosecutor will probably stonewall answering questions about it.

If you are sent to a camp it will limit the jobs you can be assigned and dramatically reduce your chances for a furlough.

It is worth a try to get this flag removed before you report.

Financial Responsibility Program

If you are ordered to pay restitution on a large fine ask the judge to set the payment rate at $25 per quarter while incarcerated.  If you don’t then you will be penalized if your family sends you money.



Physical Location of Federal Prisons

Table of Contents

Glossary Terms