Being released from federal prison into the halfway house, home confinement or directly to probation, (which in the federal system is usually referred to as “supervised release”) is both a happy, and confusing time. A release has dozens of conditions, and an equal number of factors go into the terms and jurisdiction of your release and eventual term of supervised release.
While the sentencing court will have already established the terms of probation, there are several things to consider that are usually not top of mind for someone just being released into probation, but they are incredibly important:
- Original Jurisdiction: Initially, you’ll be under the jurisdiction of the federal district where you were sentenced. This is the default jurisdiction for your halfway house, home confinement and supervised release.
- Requesting a Transfer: If you wish to reside in a different district from where you were sentenced upon your release, you will typically need to request a transfer of jurisdiction post custodial sentence. This includes your time in either the halfway house or home confinement. This is not automatically granted and will require approval, which usually depends on factors such as:
- The location of your family or support system.
- Employment opportunities.
- The nature and circumstances of your offense and your history and characteristics.
- Recommendations from your pre-trial and probation officers or other relevant officials.
If you want to change the jurisdiction of your release, discuss this with your prison case manager prior to being released. If you haven’t yet surrendered, we should discuss the procedure for applying for a district relocation.
You cannot move and then inform the probation office. You cannot simply walk into the closest halfway house in your new jurisdiction. You must get approval beforehand, otherwise you risk violating the conditions of your release.
- The third, and most important step in ensuring your release and eventual probation is as smooth and short as possible is planning. Start discussing these issues with your prison case manager as early as possible. If you’re working with your attorney or consultant, please have this conversation with them as soon as you know that you might need a transfer of jurisdiction. There will still be bureaucratic issues, but this way you will be one step ahead. If you haven’t yet surrendered to prison, you should speak with your pre-trial officer about where you might want to be released if it is in a different district from where your case is currently located.
Of course, the BOP does not make anything easy, especially trying to transfer jurisdictions for release. The required meetings or documents are often nearly impossible to get, and approvals are usually delayed.
That is why the most important thing to do is plan ahead and work with a Federal Prison Consultant who knows which boxes to check, which I’s to dot, and which T’s to cross.
Additionally, Federal Prison Consultants have the advantage of being able to see the situation ‘from the outside’ so they may be able to suggest people to talk to, advise which documents are necessary before the BOP asks for them, and anything else you may need.
If your release is coming up, especially if you would like to change jurisdictions, please do not hesitate to reach out for a free consultation, we will be happy to talk about your situation and see how we can help.
Member: American Bar Association