Prison Tips

Dec

Most lawyers are understandably unable to advise a first-time federal inmate as to what it will be like in prison. Rarely do they ever get beyond an attorney visiting room. In this four-part series of articles, we, the co-authors of “Federal Prison Guidebook,” with the help of Philip S. Wise, retired Bureau of Prisons assistant director of heath services, offer ...

Aug

Inmates often say that 99 percent of lawyers don’t know the first thing about the Bureau of Prisons and the 1 percent who do are all doing time themselves. Understanding these practice tips, published in BNA's Bloomberg Law, will decrease the 99 percent number. Read the article here.

Jun

The federal presentence investigation report (PSR) is the document most heavily relied on by a judge in imposing sentence—particularly in those cases where a guilty plea has been entered and the court knows little about the defendant. It also is the document that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) relies on in making designations and placements and many other decisions ...

Nov

Attorney Allan Ellis discusses the the four-level scale the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) employs in the designation process that seeks to correlate prisoners’ perceived medical needs to resources, both at institutions and in their corresponding communities. Learn more about the criteria the BOP uses to determine how federal inmates are classified into the four medical levels and how community medical ...

Oct

Have you ever encountered sentencing judges reluctant to direct the probation officer to make corrections to errors in the final Presentence Investigation Report? The same thing—and sometimes with even better results—can be accomplished by asking the judge to issue a Statement of Reasons. Click to read the article.

Apr

By Alan Ellis and Mark Allenbaugh Published by The National Trial Lawyers, April 13, 2017. Reprinted with permission. Bureau of Prisons policies are complex and difficult to understand—even defense lawyers find them taxing particularly so when it comes to medical and mental health issues. Clients and families are more often than not lost in the bureaucratic maze of ...

Jan

Alan Ellis and Michael Henderson share the ins and outs of the Bureau of Prison's Pre-Release Program in this article published in Criminal Justice, Winter 2017. Click to read the full article.

Oct

When we last visited the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reduction in sentence (RIS) program (sometimes erroneously called “compassionate release”), the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) had just blasted the BOP. (See Alan Ellis & EJ Hurst II, Federal BOP Puts a Little Compassion in Its Newest Release Program, 28 Crim. Just., no. 4, Winter 2014, at 41.) ...

Oct

BOP policies are complex and difficult to understand--even defense lawyers find them taxing. Clients and families are more often than not lost in the bureaucratic maze of terminology and regulations, and they turn to their lawyers for explanations. This column consolidates the information from the previous articles and adds new information about how inmates with medical needs will be treated ...

Nov

This article is adapted from Alan Ellis’ Federal Prison Guidebook.  I want to acknowledge the contributions of Deborah Bezilla, Todd Bussert, Bruce W. Cameron, Jeff Carson, J. Michael Henderson and Ian Gold. The notion of sex offenders as pariahs in correctional settings is not without foundation. Like the rest of society, ...