Losing a friend or family member is never easy. However, when someone you love dies, being able to attend their funeral or memorial service can often help ease the grief and give you a chance to say goodbye.
It’s even harder when you’re in prison and someone you love dies. Not only are you far from your friends and family when you’re locked up, but you miss out on major life events and you don’t have a support system when a loved one dies.
A lot of people ask me about prison furlough, which is a temporary way out of prison, usually only for a few days, and then you need to return to the prison. They are usually escorted ㅡ but sometimes unescorted (meaning no guards accompany the prisoner) ㅡ They can meet with the employer for funerals, medical reasons or before you are released (at least in the past).Because of the high profile cases of prisoner crimes on leave (does anyone remember willie horton? ), even though there is evidence that time off reduces recidivism, taking time off is much harder.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, furloughs are in no way a reward for good behavior or a means of shortening sentences. Instead, they are only used for further corrective purposes.
So, that leads me to today’s topic ㅡCan you leave prison for a funeral?
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
- Can federal prisoners leave prison for funerals?
- Can state inmates get out of jail for funerals?
Can federal prisoners leave prison for funerals?
When it comes to allowing federal prisoners to take time off for funerals, power ultimately rests with the Bureau of Prisons chief, but it’s usually the agency’s warden who handles leave requests. In the federal system, there are two types of leave: one-day leave and overnight leave.
A day off is within the geographic perimeter of the facility’s commuting zone (approximately 100-mile radius), lasts 16 hours or less, and ends before midnight.
Time off is often used to strengthen family relationships and enrich the experience of a specific agency program. Such travel is often associated with inmate organizations (Jaycees, Toastmasters, etc.) or programs (religious, educational, recreational, etc.) within the institution.
Overnight leave does not qualify as or exceed the standard of one day leave.
Inmates can request time off in the event of a crisis or other emergency in the immediate family. Immediate family includes mother, father, stepparents, adoptive parents, siblings, spouse and children. They may also apply for leave of absence to participate in the development of a release plan, restore family and community ties, and participate in selected educational, social, civic, religious, and recreational activities to facilitate the release transition.
The criteria for federal prison leave are:
- Prisoners must have community guardianship status
- Prisoners must be physically and mentally able to complete the leave
- The prisoner has demonstrated sufficient duty to provide reasonable assurance to satisfy leave requirements
The Warden determines an inmate’s eligibility for leave based on the prisoner’s expected release date and the basis of the leave request. However, emergency leave for funerals is extremely rare. There are rules about how far inmates are from their release date and whether it can be day or night.
At the end of the day, wardens are very reluctant to grant time off, especially for family emergencies or funerals. As I was told many times while incarcerated, if you don’t like the rules, you shouldn’t be in prison.
Can state inmates get out of jail for funerals?
Federal rules are one thing, but state rules vary by state, security level, and crime committed. It’s hard to take a vacation from anything these days. If anything bad happens to a prisoner while they are outside the prison walls, it doesn’t look good on a public relations level.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
I should also mention that for any leave ㅡ state or federal ㅡ the prisoner and his family must bear all costs. So, if you are supervised by an officer on leave, you must pay that officer’s salary, pay for handcuffs and shackles, and pay for transportation and lodging. If you can’t pay for it, it won’t happen.
Should prisoners be allowed to leave prison for funerals? Let us know in the comments below.