04. Unit Team
"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."
- Alexander Graham Bell
The BOP operates under a Unit Team approach to counseling, supervising and advising inmates. Each Team would be responsible for up to 150 inmates. The Team’s goal is to determine a inmates program needs, monitor participation in those programs, encourage adjustment to prison life, and rehabilitate to return to society. The BOP implements these initiatives through its Unit Management policy.
This Unit Team is responsible for managing nearly every aspect of an inmate’s life and these are the primary staff members you will get to know during the prison term. The following is a list of some of their primary responsibilities as it relates to inmates:
- Living Quarter Assignment
- Supervision of Inmate Orderlies For Cleaning
- Determination of Halfway House Duration/Assignment
- Implementation of Disciplinary Policy
- Educational Programs
- Conducting Formal Reviews With Each Inmate
A complete breakdown of the responsibility for each staff member is provided in the Unit Team topic of this section. You will find that each has a different role but together they provide support and counseling to support inmate life. While they have all been professionally trained, some take the responsibilities of their job more serious than others. You will find that they operate by the policies of the BOP and they do not stray from them. Expect bureaucratic paperwork and realize that things move slowly as compared to the outside world.
As it relates to prison life and leaving prison, the Unit Team plays an integral role by conducting formal Unit Team Meetings with an individual inmate. There are two types of regularly scheduled Unit Team Meetings, Initial Classification and Program Reviews. These are covered under the Team Meeting topic of this section. Every inmate has to participate in these meetings that can last from 10-15 minutes. It is the only time that an inmate get the undivided attention of the entire staff.
Throughout a prison term, you will see these staff people daily and will want to speak with them about an issue. They are usually available at the lunch meal as inmates go buy to get their meal. You can approach them with a question or concern but if they need to take some action as a result of the request, then you will have to submit a formal request to their attention. These are requests are called a Cop-Out, or more formally as a BP-338. These are available in the Unit or can now be submitted on-line at the email terminals located in all federal prison facilities.
The Team is also responsible for enforcing the rules of the prison. We cover this in the Discipline topic in this section. The rules are all clearly stated and punishment can range from giving an inmate extra work or, for more extreme violations loss of Good Time. To the uninitiated, some of these violations may seem harmless, like using a cell phone, but a violation like that is considered a major incident. Every inmate is given a copy of the rules and you will also find people violating some of them throughout the day. At times it may seem like some of these rules are not enforced, but you should stay as far away from these violators as possible.
In this section you will learn about the Team, how they function and the best way for you to get the most benefit from them.