After Conviction: Designation, Probation, & Supervisory Release
How The Federal Bureau Of Prisons Determines Your Designation
Once you are sentenced in a Federal criminal case, you are committed to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, frequently referred to as the BOP. It most cases, you will be held in a federal detention facility close to the court you are convicted in until you are designated by the BOP to a specific, permanent facility.
If you are on bond at the time of sentencing, it is fairly common in a Federal Criminal case that the Court will allow you to self-report to the BOP facility you get designated to. This means that you can wait out on bond until you’re designated to a specific facility. You will be given notice, with a day and time, that you’ll have to report to that federal facility.
Like every other facet of federal criminal practice, the BOP has a very structured process for designation that requires establishing your security risk based on many factors, such as the nature of your offense and the length of your sentence. So, first your security risk will need to be calculated. After that, the BOP will look at what facilities have bed space for that security level.
Federal systems have facilities that accommodate a range of security levels. These include:
- Federal correctional facilities (FCIs),
- United States Prisons (USPs), and
- Federal Supermax Prisons.
There are very few supermax facilities nationwide, and a person would need to have a very long sentence, often a life sentence, with very violent aspects to their charges, in order to be designated to a supermax.
The higher the security level, the fewer facilities there are. There are far more camps than there are FCIs, and there are more FCIs than there are USPs. So, geographically, where you are designated will depend on your security level and how that matches up with available bed space.
Another part of how you will be designated will depend on whether or not you need a facility with a specific program. The BOP strongly believes that their programs have a lot of value and truly help individuals on their path to rehabilitation. For this reason, they will go out of their way to designate a defendant to a facility that has a program specific to their needs.
These programs can include:
- Sex offender treatment program,
- Residential drug abuse program (RDAP), and
- Anger management.
RDAP, in particular, is a program that is highly sought after by defendants because it can significantly reduce your sentence. This program is for anyone who has a substance abuse problem, particularly if they are sentenced with a drug crime or drug-related crime.
Once the BOP makes all of the necessary determinations, they will take into account a judge’s recommendation. A judge may recommend placement to a specific facility, but the BOP is not bound by this recommendation. The BOP is an executive branch and cannot be told what to do – in their mind – by a judge, who is a member of the judicial branch.
Most defendants are placed within a reasonable distance of their home and family. The BOP does have an incentive to keep prisoners happy. Happy prisoners are easier to house than unhappy ones, so they do understand the importance of trying to keep people close to the loved ones that want to visit them. Even so, a lot of factors are going into the decision and therefore it’s never a guarantee.
Probation Or Supervisory Release After A Federal Conviction
In the event an individual is granted probation or supervisory release following a federal conviction, there could be endless possibilities for the terms of that probation or supervisory release. There are, of course, standard conditions that can include:
- You can’t get engaged in any new criminal conduct,
- You can’t get arrested for any new offenses,
- You have to be drug-tested,
- You have to report regularly to a probation officer,
- You have to account for your time and be busy with work and/or school,
- You have to provide verification of employment and/or enrollment in school,
- You will have some travel limitations,
- You have to consent to searches of your car and/or home,
- You have to consent to having your electronic media searched, and
- You cannot own or possess a firearm.
These are standard conditions, but the judge can then impose any number of additional conditions specific to an individual’s offense. Some examples of offense-specific conditions could be:
- Someone convicted of internet solicitation of a minor, child pornography, distribution, or production of child pornography will likely not be permitted to own or possess any device that can access the internet.
- If it was a drug-related offense, you might have mandatory drug treatment or attendance at AA or NA.
- If it was a sex-related offense, you may have a sex offender evaluation and follow-up treatment.
The conditions that could be placed on an individual’s probation or supervisory release are extensive and individualized. Judges will frequently look at the offender or the offense and come up with conditions that become applicable for whatever specific or unique reason present in an individual case.
Federal criminal practice is very unique. It requires that an attorney have particular specialization in federal criminal cases. If you are facing federal criminal charges, you need to make sure that your lawyer has the requisite experience and expertise in dealing with specific federal criminal offenses. They are a unique animal and require someone to have experience with both the substantive and procedural law specific to federal criminal law.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Criminal Law Cases, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy. For more information on Criminal Law in Michigan, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 509-0056 today.