Bon Voyage

Posted by Chris Morales on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 @ 10:15 AM

What is a federal transfer station (FTS)?

A FTS is a temporary holding place where a final destination will be determined and where prison await transport. These are the unlucky ones who are taken directly into custody at the time of sentencing. The inmates at a FTS are assigned a security classification by the BOP. The inmates then go to their respective locations of either USP (United States Penitentiary) FCI (Medium or Low), or FPC (Federal Prison Camp). When there are enough people to make a trip-load, they head out by bus (the Silver Bullet) or by place (Con Air).

Some of the main stations are in Oklahoma City and Atlanta. Several others include Dever and Houston.

The inmates there are typically wait a few weeks to several months to go to their specified facility. Those who are afforded the privilege of self-surrender need not worry about this phase. They will transport themselves to their destinations.

What happens after I self surrender?

After you are dropped off, you will go inside and tell a staff member that you are there to surrender. Your ride is welcome to come inside with you. An officer from Receiving and Discharge (R & D) will escort you to the processing room where you will be finger printed and given forms to fill out. You will be given a temporary jumpsuit and turn over your personal property. The things you will be allowed to keep are: eyeglasses, hearing aid, any prosthesis, wedding band, religious necklace, personal phone numbers and addresses, receipts for commissary and fine payments and any other pertinent paperwork. You will be give them your medical history and a photocopy of your current prescriptions. They will give you a test for tuberculosis (TB). You will probably spend some brief amount of time in a small crowded cell as others are processed. The whole thing takes around two or three hours.

From here, one of two things will happen. The best alternative is that you will enter population in the compound. In this case, you will be assigned a room, issued clothes and blankets, and then go to dinner. The other less desirable scenario is that you will have to wait in the Special Housing Unit (SHU), which is also called "The Hole", for bed space to become available.

If you must stay in "The Hole", as I did you will be there from one night up to several weeks. After two weeks in, I was the last one in my group to leave. I never really got use to it, but found it doable.


Arrive a little early to surrender. Most inmates wait until the last possible moment. If other newcomers in your batch are assigned to the same housing unit, you will want your name to appear first on the list for bed space.

What things can I take with me when I surrender?

You should take the following items:

1. A complete list of phone numbers and addresses. Be sure to include phone and fax numbers for lawyers, doctors, and your old high school. Don't forget to note special dates like birth dates and anniversaries.

2. A copy of your fine payment information. Make sure to take a receipt of your special assessment payment. This is the hundred-dollar fee you pay at sentencing. Without proof, they will try to deduct this from your account.

3. Photocopies of all current medical prescriptions; do not take actual medicine.

4. One pair of eyeglasses, hearing aid, and any prosthetic device

5. A copy of dental x-rays

6. A copy of your eyeglass prescription

7. A copy of the money order receipt that is hoped you sent as an advanced deposit to your commissary account. Be sure to leave the real receipt with your outside trustee in case of a snafu.

8. A copy of your Social Security card and a photocopy of your driver's license. The real articles should be waiting for you in the travel bag you left with your trustee.

9. An inexpensive wedding ring and religious medallion

10. Some of the things you cannot take include: cash, medication, jewelry, wristwatches, clothes and shoes.

The Morales Law Firm would like to thank Mad Dogs guide to Club Fed (Instruction Manuel for Newcomers) for sharing this information with us.

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Tags: self-surrender, prison, inmates, prescriptions