You might be surprised to know how complicated the process is for a prisoner to be held in jail after they have been sentenced. They don’t just put you wherever they have available beds.
Instead, there is a process called “reception and orientation” or “triage,” in which prisoners are evaluated when they are first placed into the custody of the Department of Corrections or the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
There are many factors that determine in which prison a prisoner is held to serve his or her sentence. These include: the location of the crime, the nature of the crime (violent, non-violent, drug-related or sexual), the length of the sentence, the prisoner’s class of imprisonment, the behavior of the prisoner, and the prisoner’s physical and mental health. Another factor is whether someone has been ordered by a court to complete a treatment program or work program.
The transfer is not easy due to the detailed process by which prisoners are held. Which leads to today’s blog post: How to Transfer Prisoners.
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
- Why are prisoners transferred?
- Can inmates apply for prison transfer?
- How long does a prisoner transfer take?
Why are prisoners transferred?
When the Federal Bureau of Prisons or the Department of Corrections transfers prisoners, there is always a reason behind it. The prisoner’s level of detention may have been reduced, they may be within months of being released, the prisoner’s safety may be questioned, or they may be assigned to a program that is only offered at a separate facility.
These are general reasons, but transfers are also made on a case-by-case basis for the safety of prisoners and staff.
Can inmates apply for prison transfer?
Yes, prisoners can apply for a transfer, but it is not easy to get approved. When prisoners wish to be transferred, they must first submit a written request to the caseworker for review by the classification board.
Usually, the board will discuss their request with the prisoner. Then they will make a recommendation to the warden. Prison wardens have the final authority in approving or denying prisoner transfers.
If a prisoner’s request is denied, they can file an appeal and seek help from organizations such as the ACLU if the request is due to substandard living conditions.
Family members cannot request a prisoner’s transfer, but if the reason behind the transfer is to be closer to family, they can write to support the prisoner’s request. Prison officials will tell you that visitation and constant communication with friends and family is essential to prisoner rehabilitation, but they often don’t make decisions to support that statement.
Many inmates are held in prisons hours away from home, making it extremely difficult for family and friends to visit them. Prisoners can request a transfer so they can be closer to their families, but there is no guarantee the request will be granted.
At the federal level, they do have a “closer release transfer” option specifically designed to bring inmates closer to their families. These transfers can bring the prisoner closer to the legal residence where his family lives, or, if his family has moved, to their new residence.
How long does a prisoner transfer take?
The request process usually takes about a week to get a response from the classification board or warden. However, sometimes it can take longer because they are never in a hurry to do anything in prison.
If the request is approved, the transfer may take hours or weeks, depending on the circumstances. The time required depends on factors such as transportation arrangements and bed availability at the new facility.
Transfers can also occur without the knowledge of family members, but prisoners should be allowed to call or write a special letter to their most frequent visitors with the news of the move.
However, this doesn’t always happen. If you are looking for your prisoner, the BOP has a prisoner locator on their website. Also, most state DOC websites have the same option. The only information you need is the inmate’s name and DOC number.
Do you think prisoners should be allowed to move to another prison to be closer to their families? Let us know in the comments below.