Cop-Out Form in the Federal Prison Camp

Every inmate has certain rights and they exercise those rights by an orderly format set-up by the Bureau of Prison. This format is a written request form submitted to the prison staff which is commonly known as a cop-out.

For example, if an inmates needs to see a doctor for headaches, he must fill out a cop-out form asking for medical services. The cop-out is then submitted by dropping it off at a designated location (like a mail slot). All cop-outs are then sorted, prioritized and directed to the correct prison staff or department (medical services in the example) and then you just wait for a reply. Replies to your request are then routed through the internal prison mail system and distributed during mail call.

Cop-outs are like the legal source of communication with prison administration. Whether it’s a complaint about living conditions or other inmates, your opinion about the food, a request to change bunks, need of medical attention, asking for a change in work details, making suggestions or just thanking the staff. Cop-outs keep things flowing and are designed to maintain a certain order with the camp administration and inmates.

Filling out a cop-out forms needs to be first clear and specific it has to be dated because sometimes it’s first come first serve and most importantly, retain a copy for your own records because they have been known to get lost.

Now a word of caution, cop-outs can be a good thing like requesting a bottom bunk which puts you on a waiting list to the next available one or asking to see a doctor. Here is the caution, if you complain about the facility or another inmate and it’s been repetitious don’t be surprised if the TV is suddenly taken away and inmates begin to avoid you and keeping a watchful eye over every move you make. In other words pick you battle carefully because there may be consequences.

If you do have to make a valid complaint, make it in the form of a suggestion and don’t press the issue. Also be careful of group complaints and suggestions, it may seem like a good idea to stand in numbers but in the prison system it may look like a group (gang) being organized. Remember, they are paranoid and suspicious.

Use the cop-out forms in moderation and good conduct because they are there to assist you. Valid and just request build a reputation of honest character among the staff and other inmates. Once your honor and character has been noted, it may be the very thing that gets your next request processed quicker.


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