Ask the Experts

Read our Q&A for helpful information. Feel free to email us questions or issues you'd like to see addressed!

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions . . .

After being charged with a crime, will I be held in jail?

Not necessarily. In most situations the judge will release a defendant on what is known as a signature bond unless there is reason for the judge to believe the defendant is a threat to the community or a flight risk. In that case, the judge may order a cash bond which must be posted before release to the community. The nature of the alleged crime and a defendant's background are also important factors for a court to consider.

Will I be monitored/supervised while waiting for my case to be resolved?

Yes. When released on a bond, a defendant will be under the supervision of a pre-trial services officer until the case has been resolved. Supervision includes regular contact with the officer, monitoring of the residential address, work status, travel plans, sobriety, and compliance with any specific rules promulgated by the pre-trial services officer.

After being charged, what are my options?

Once the prosecutor has officially filed charges there are generally two options available to bring about resolution. A defendant can choose to take the case to trial and have the outcome decided by a judge/jury, or attempt to negotiate and enter into a plea agreement, thus avoiding a trial. The most recent statistics from the Department of Justice show that 93.6% of all federal criminal cases are resolved with a guilty plea. Of those that go to trial, 75.6% are convicted. 25% of all those incarcerated in the federal system are housed in a minimum security prison camp.

Will I have input into sentencing?

Definitely. There are several factors a judge will consider in determining a sentence. A defendant can provide input to the judge by: presenting a positive historical profile of past actions and behaviors, submitting letters of support from family members, friends and associates, and by highlighting special circumstances or needs that may justify a lighter sentence. The most important document to be considered by a judge is the pre-sentence report prepared by the probation officer. The pre-sentence report is the defendant's greatest opportunity to provide information that will be considered at sentencing. Executive Prison Consultants will work with you and your attorney to construct a winning strategy that will place you in the most favorable light with the judge.

What prison will I be assigned to?
Will I have a say in where I am sent and the kind of prison I am sent to?

Designation to a specific prison facility is made by the Bureau of Prisons Designation and Sentence Computation Center (DSCC) in Grand Prairie, TX. The facility designation is determined by a number of factors which include a defendant's security rating, location of residence, and facility availability. The judge can recommend a facility. Most often the DSCC office will honor that recommendation if presented correctly. Executive Prison Consultants will guide you in determining the best facility for your personal situation and help you obtain the desired recommendation from the judge.

What can a new prisoner expect upon arrival at a federal prison?

If granted self surrender status by the court, a defendant must follow the reporting directions exactly as they are described in a letter of notification from the U.S. Marshal's Office. Generally, a defendant will want to limit what is brought to prison to a modest amount of money, a religious medal/book, medical information, and prescriptions. A new prisoner will be met at the prison by an officer in charge of Receiving and Discharge. New arrivals are searched, photographed, fingerprinted, issued clothing, medically screened, issued an operations handbook, and assigned to a bed. Within a matter of days, an orientation session will occur to help acclimate new arrivals to the prison facility. Executive Prison Consultants will walk you through every step of this entire process, thus removing all questions, anxiety, and confusion.

Is safety a concern for the new arrival?

Violence and physical assault are concerns at every prison facility; however, such occurrences are rare in minimum security prison camps. Executive Prison Consultants will work to get you placed in a safe facility and provide appropriate strategies that will enable you to minimize and/or eliminate exposure to problems of this nature.

What will life in prison be like?

Daily routines, privileges, and rules vary from institution to institution. In the prison camp setting, there is typically a fair amount of freedom afforded to inmates. Inmates are allowed to interact with one another and move freely about the compound. Meals are served three times a day in a dining hall setting. Recreation opportunities abound in the form of team and individual sports, exercise, weight training, library access, television, movies, educational programs, music, wood working, leather craft, table games, and more. Living quarters are typically set up dormitory style or in smaller contained rooms, all with common shower and restroom facilities. Visits by family and friends are allowed and mail service is provided daily, except on weekends and holidays. While supervision is usually present, inmate contact with correctional staff is minimal. Medical and dental attention is available daily. Each inmate is given a job assignment and can earn an hourly wage which can be used to purchase commissary items and pay for telephone and email service. Executive Prison Consultants will teach you exactly how each of these daily life components work. We will give you the knowledge you need to eliminate all fear and anxiety, to position yourself to gain the best possible advantages during your incarceration, and to enjoy a problem free daily routine.

What can I expect from prison staff members?

Generally, staff members are reasonable and respectful toward inmates, but staff/inmate relations can sometimes become strained. Should a problem or concern arise between staff and inmate, the inmate may confer directly with the assigned duty officer, case manager, counselor, or unit manager. There is also a written administrative remedy process that can be utilized when an inmate believes some aspect of the organizational rules, regulations, policies, or his rights have been violated. Executive Prison Consultants will provide detailed information and procedures to new inmates enabling them to communicate effectively and to correctly utilize the established procedures should a problem arise.

Can an inmate have visits from family members and friends?

Definitely. Visits are allowed and can be joyful experiences. Each prison will have a set of visiting regulations, forms to be completed, a specific location where visits take place, and required procedures that must be followed. The process entails obtaining security clearance of visitors, good inmate conduct, and a variety of other requirements. With appropriate knowledge and adequate advance planning, visits can take place on a regular basis and provide a positive experience for all involved parties. Executive Prison Consultants will guide you through the necessary steps to ensure that you will immediately gain visitation privileges upon your arrival at prison.

Will I serve every day of my sentence?

Not necessarily. Parole does not exist in the federal prison system. However, the Bureau of Prisons allows for a downward adjustment of a sentence based on inmate conduct, commonly known as "good time." Executive Prison Consultants will help you understand the requirements necessary to attain "clear conduct" status and show you how to calculate the potential sentence reduction.

Are there opportunities for further reduction of my sentence?

Yes. Opportunities do exist whereby an inmate can reduce a sentence in addition to a "good time" reduction. These opportunities include eligibility for substance abuse programming, Rule 35 cooperation, compassionate release, and various other special circumstances. An in depth personal interview and study of your case will help us determine what levels of eligibility exist for you.

When I finish my prison stay, will I be able to go directly home?

Perhaps. Upon release, most inmates are released to a Community Corrections Center facility commonly referred to as a "halfway house." These facilities are designed to assist the inmate with re-integration into the workplace and society in general. The length of stay in a halfway house is determined by a variety of factors including: length of sentence, amount of "good time" credit earned during incarceration, and bed space availability at the halfway house. In some circumstances, inmates may be released from prison or the halfway house to another form of incarceration such as "home confinement." Yet others may go directly home. In all these circumstances, the inmate remains under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Prisons until the custody portion of a sentence has been completely served, at which time most inmates serve a term of probation under the supervision of a probation officer. Executive Prison Consultants will describe all available programs to you and help you understand the most likely scenario for your particular circumstances.