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Miami Criminal Lawyer David J. Joffe
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The Federal Prison System*

Federal Bureau of Prisons Map

The United States Federal Prison System known as the Federal Bureau of Prisons was established in 1930 to provide more progressive and humane care for Federal inmates, to professionalize the prison service, and to ensure consistent and centralized administration of the 11 Federal prisons in operation at the time.

Today, the Bureau consists of 116 institutions, 6 regional offices, a Central Office (headquarters), 2 staff training centers, and 22 community corrections offices. The regional offices and Central Office provide administrative oversight and support to Bureau facilities and community corrections offices. In turn, community corrections offices oversee residential reentry centers and home confinement programs.

The Bureau is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 210,000 Federal offenders. Approximately 82 percent of these inmates are confined in Bureau-operated facilities, while the balance is confined in secure privately managed or community-based facilities and local jails.

The Bureau protects public safety by ensuring that Federal offenders serve their sentences of imprisonment in facilities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure. The Bureau helps reduce the potential for future criminal activity by encouraging inmates to participate in a range of programs that have been proven to reduce recidivism. More than 38,000 BOP employees ensure the security of Federal prisons, provide inmates with needed programs and services, and model mainstream values.

Each institution is given a security designation of either minimum, low, medium, high, or administrative. The security levels are based on such features as the presence of external patrols, towers, security barriers, or detection devices; the type of housing within the institution; internal security features; and the staff-to-inmate ratio.

Minimum Security
Minimum security institutions, also known as Federal Prison Camps (FPC), have dormitory housing, a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio, and limited or no perimeter fencing. These institutions are work-oriented and program-oriented. Many of these institutions are located adjacent to larger institutions or on military bases, where inmates help serve the labor needs of the larger institution or base.

Low Security
Low security Federal Correctional Institutions (FCI) have double-fenced perimeters, mostly dormitory or cubicle housing, and strong work and program components. The staff-to-inmate ratio in these institutions is higher than in minimum security facilities.

Medium Security
Medium security FCIs have strengthened perimeters often with double fences and electronic detection systems, mostly cell-type housing, a wide variety of work and treatment programs, an even higher staff-to-inmate ratio than low security FCIs, and even greater internal controls.

High Security
High security institutions, also known as United States Penitentiaries (USP), have highly-secured perimeters featuring walls or reinforced fences, multiple-occupant and single-occupant cell housing, the highest staff-to-inmate ratio, and close control of inmate movement.

Correctional Complexes
A number of BOP institutions belong to Federal Correctional Complexes (FCC). At FCCs, institutions with different missions and security levels are located in close proximity to one another. FCCs increase efficiency through the sharing of services, enable staff to gain experience at institutions that have many security levels, and enhance emergency preparedness by having additional resources within close proximity.

Administrative facilities are institutions with special missions, such as the detention of pretrial offenders; the treatment of inmates with serious or chronic medical problems; or the containment of extremely dangerous, violent, or escape-prone inmates. Administrative facilities include Metropolitan Correctional Centers (MCC), Metropolitan Detention Centers (MDC), Federal Detention Centers (FDC), and Federal Medical Centers (FMC), as well as the Federal Transfer Center (FTC), the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners (MCFP), and the Administrative-Maximum (ADX) USP. Administrative facilities are capable of holding inmates in all security categories.

Satellite Camps
A number of BOP institutions have a small, minimum-security camp adjacent to the main facility. These camps, often referred to as satellite camps, provide inmate labor to the main institution and to off-site work programs. FCI Memphis has a non-adjacent camp that serves similar needs.

Satellite Low Security
The BOP has two FCIs that have a small, low-security satellite facility adjacent to the main institution. The BOP also has one FCI that has a low-security facility affiliated with, but not adjacent to, the main institution.

Minimum-security Federal Correctional Institutions (FCI's), commonly called "federal prison camps" are designed for offenders who do not pose a risk of violence or escape.


The Bureau's classification and designation functions have been centralized at the Designation and Sentence Computation Center (DSCC), located at the Grand Prairie Office Complex in Texas.

Upon sentencing in Federal District Court, the Bureau of Prisons has the sole responsibility in determining where an offender will be designated for service of his/her sentence in accordance with Program Statement 5100.08, Inmate Security and Custody Classification manual. Prior to a designation occurring, the DSCC must receive for consideration all sentencing material regarding the offender. These documents are processed and received from the sentencing Court, U.S. Probation Office, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

The Bureau attempts to designate inmates to facilities commensurate with their security and program needs within a 500-mile radius of their release residence. If an inmate is placed at an institution that is more than 500 miles from his/her release residence, generally, it is due to specific security, programming, or population concerns. The same criteria apply when making decisions for both initial designation and re-designation for transfer to a new facility.

Inmates are designated/re-designated to institutions based on:

  • the level of security and staff supervision the inmate requires,

  • the level of security and staff supervision the institution provides,

  • the medical classification care level of the inmate and the care level of the institution,

  • the inmate's program needs (e.g., substance abuse treatment, educational/vocational training, individual and/or group counseling, medical/mental health treatment), and

  • various administrative factors (e.g., institution bed space capacity; the inmate's release residence; judicial recommendations; separation needs; and security measures needed to ensure protection of victims, witnesses, and the general public).

Although general information regarding the designation or transfer process may be provided, specific information about a particular inmate is not public information and may not be released via the telephone or internet. This information may only be obtained by submitting a written request with an original authorization form signed by the inmate. Due to security requirements, certain information, such as an inmate's pending designation site and/or transfer date, will not be released to anyone even if an original authorization form is provided.

Additionally, any request for transfer must originate with an inmate's institution Unit Team at his or her current facility. The DSCC evaluates referrals submitted by institution staff and makes decisions based on the information provided by the institution. Inmates are encouraged to work closely with members of their institution Unit Team to determine if transfer to a facility closer to their release residence may be possible.

Law enforcement agencies: Please mail or fax your request on your official letterhead, or submit your scanned official request via e-mail. Without proper documentation, your request cannot be processed.

Other Resources:

5265.11 - Coorespondence
5160.05 - Designation of State Institution for Service of Federal Sentence
Drug Abuse Program
5300.21 - Education, Training and Leisure Time Program Standards
5266.10 - Incoming Publications
5264.08 - Inmate Telephone Regulations
Intensive Confinement Center Program (ICC)
Interaction of Federal and State Sentences
Frequently Asked Questions

* The information in this section is provided as a service of Joffe Law, P.A. for those seeking information about the Federal Prison System. Criminal Defense Attorney David J. Joffe is not affiliated with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Please contact the BOP to seek more information regarding the inmate you may be trying to reach.


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Representative case results include:

Latest Verdict: Woman in Sebring, FL facing 20 years sentence on first degree felony, theft over $100,000 for her alleged complicity in diverting over $1,000,000 in assets from medical office. Mr. Joffe convinced prosecutor to use client as cooperating witness and and not charge her with offense that exposed her to 20 years state prison.

Trial attorney David Joffe is granted an acquittal for his client who was facing a mandatory life sentence if convicted in a federal drug importation case

As a result of masterful cross examination of six (6) key witnesses at trial, Mr. Joffe’s motion was granted to acquit his client of all charges in a federal drug importation case. The case involved 26 kilograms of cocaine and 5 kilograms of heroin. The Judge, a former prosecutor has not granted such a request in more than twenty (20) years of service on the bench. Mr. Joffe received positive written comments from more than twenty (20) peer attorneys.

David J. Joffe obtains not guilty jury verdict in federal drug case in forty (40) minutes after one (1) day trial. Client acquitted of 10 year mandatory jail sentence.

Defendant was convicted of two counts. The law firm again represented defendant on the direct appeal to the United States Court of Appeals in and for the Eleventh Circuit. The law firm was successful in having one count vacated and defendant was remanded for re-sentencing before the District Court. The Court sentenced defendant to non-reporting probation.

State Attorney dismissed marijuana possession case after reading one motion detailing improper search and seizure.

Male Charged with Mortgage Fraud Gets No Prison Time

Miami: 29 defendants charged in drug importation and credit card scheme and only ONE goes free! His attorney was David J Joffe!

20 year old female Gets Reduced Sentence for Drug Charge

Charges Dismissed on Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer

Ex-banker not charged with theft of goods through interstate commerce

Florida criminal defense lawyer, David J. Joffe successfully reduces sentence of Colombian crew men on freighter with two tons of cocaine

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