02. Reporting To Prison
"Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
- Dorothy in L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
For those of you who will be self reporting to federal prison, you must show up on the date that you are told to show up by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS). There is no going in a day(s) early, or showing up a day(s) late without getting permission. If you show up early, you will be asked to report back on the given date. If you show up late, you are considered to have escaped. So be on time.
First, let's start with some good news. The BOP calculates any part of a day in custody as a full day served toward the sentence. So as soon as you walk in the door, you get full credit for that day not matter how many hours are left in the day.
You will need to arrange a ride to prison. No matter how many miles your designation is from your home, it is a long ride. Many federal prisons are located in rural areas of the country, so being close to a major airport is not likely. You will need to plan your trip accordingly. When driving, have a friend or a family member drive you to your destination. There is no need to bring a group of people on the ride and saying ‘good bye’ at the entrance to prison is not something you want your family to remember. Say your ‘good byes’ at home to friends and family and pick one person to drive you to prison.
Everyone who has experienced prison has a story about their ride to the institution. Depending on the distance that the designated institution is located from home, many people will travel to the town where the facility is located the evening before. They will stay in local lodging and then surrender early in the morning, around 9:00am local time. You just want to make sure that you get to the prison and avoid delays that could occur on any trip. At the very least, leave home early in the morning to avoid traffic or give yourself some time in the event of car trouble.
Realizing that prison is your next stop is difficult. Most people take a moment near the prison to stop the car, take a deep breath, and psych themselves up to pass through the gates. The best thing to remember is that the mind usually generates thoughts about dreaded experiences, like prison, that are far worse than what reality holds. This is true of prison. While prison is a serious consequence, it is manageable.
Managing that experience is exactly what we want to do in this section. Fortunately, the BOP helps us in preparing you on what to expect because it operates under policies that spell out how operations and actions are undertaken within the prison. This includes the way that inmates are received into prison. This same process for inmates arriving is repeated numerous times, in much the same way, every weekday across the country. All incoming inmates are processed according to BOP policy for Receiving and Discharge.