Self Surrender to a Federal Prison Camp, Part 1

I have received many questions regarding self surrender to a federal prison camp and how it is on the first day. So I figured it would be a good idea to give you my personal account of what I experienced in a 3 part series.

At 2:00 pm on a Tuesday afternoon I remember the cold words said to my wife from the case manager who checked me in, “You can go now”, occurring just a few minute after we arrived at the federal prison camp. I removed my watch, my wedding ring and handed them to my wife. I hugged and kissed her good bye and told her that I would call her as soon as I had the chance.

Returning to my seat I then handed the case manager my driver’s license and bible. I watched as he placed my license in the file folder he created. He thumbed through my bible and then handed it back to me.I notice that the case manager and correctional officer who came in while the paper work was being finalized never smiled. I remember smiling and trying to strike up a conversation with them but they wouldn’t have it. It was just questions, answers and explanation of rules. I still found the situation funny somehow and I believe it was God’s peace saying that He was with me.

Another officer came in and took me to another room in the building. This was a time of humiliation. Stepping into the room I saw another officer waiting with a medium size box. “Take off your clothes and put them in the box” he says. That’s right I had to remove every piece of clothing. Here I was standing naked as they looked at me. “Turn around and spread your cheeks” he says, I did what he wanted and quickly realized that I am no longer a free man but now a prison inmate. When I turned around he handed me some underwear, an oversized jumpsuit and a pair of slip on shoes. After I finish dressing myself, the processing continued with finger printing and photos.

I was then taken to a waiting area and told that someone else would take me to the camp. After about 30 minutes or so and me dosing off, someone finally came in and guided me to another room. This was the laundry room where all the clothes, linens and supplies were kept for the prison camp. I was issued 3 sets of clothes, work boots, bed linens, a pillow, towels and toiletries. I was glad to get rid of that loose jumpsuit for a uniform of dark teal pants and shirt. I was also thankful to see that the uniforms were not orange.

Now that I was complete with all my prison issue and supplies, the officer on duty escorted me to the camp dormitory and assigned me a top bunk and I quickly realized that this was where I would spend the next two years of my life.

10 Comments to “Self Surrender to a Federal Prison Camp, Part 1”

1corey odonell

I have been reading up on your writing i am about to start a 2 year sentence in federal prison. I have not had the oney to buy a book and have found this very infomative. thankyou



Thank you and yes, the information is there so you don’t have to buy a book.

This site is about helping and providing information. I’m glad that you were able to get some clarity.


How much time of your 2 yr sentence did you actually do? I’ve heard that some people are sent to halfway homes when they have 6 months left. Im about to start close to a 2 yr sentence myself.



I was sentenced to 27 months, I served 21 1/2 months in a prison camp, 2 1/2 months in a halfway house and 3 months off for good behavior.


Thanks for the info Rickey,

So do you have to qualify for a halfway house or is it pretty much automatic? Also, how difficult is it to get a transfer? Im going to Pollock, but live about 45 minutes from Saufley Field, im thinking this is due to space availability.



Yes, halfway house is sort of factored in, kind of works out to be 1 month for each year. Transfers are just a matter of applying and wait for an opening because you are right, it will depend on space availability.

Funny you should mention Pollock because that’s where I was. It’s a smaller camp next to a high security prison and in 2004-05 they were building an adjacent facility which is now probably complete with inmates.



Thank you for you website. It has been very informative. I have not read it all but I am working on it and sending the information along to my husband who is currently in transit.

My question is regarding that. I understand that you were able to self surrender, but I am sure you spoke with others who were not able to. My husband was taken from the court room. He has been in transit for 2 months now, 2 county jails in our home state, 1 in OK which is a satellite to the OK processing facility and now he is in a processing facility in GA. Do you have any idea why that are running him around everywhere? We were told that he was going to be able to self-surrender but as you have said on another topic it is to the judges discretion. The US Marshals told him that they do not know where he is going yet. If thats the case what was the point in taking him without a place to put him?

Thank you




Yes, this is very unusual but not uncommon, especially transit to a processing center. Here are some possible reasons for transits based on my observation. They may have considered him a flight risk based on the crime he was convicted on (basically not trusting him). The BOP also coordinates moving inmates in groups to make transit more cost efficient, in other words there has to be a bus going in the direction of the transit.

Another reason may be pending charges in another state, it can also be for his protection (again depending on his case) or a space availability issue because I have also observed that it’s up to the warden and camp administrator to approve the selection of who comes to there facility (handpick the inmates they want).



Thank you for responding. Why is transport to a processing center unusual, not everyone has to go? If so why do some and not others?

He has never been viewed as a flight risk, the raid was in 05 and he was sentenced and taken in November, we never went anywhere without permission. He is not pending any other charges, his case is now closed. It was a non-violent crime so he doesn’t need protection from anyone.

I was told the the BOP does their best to accommodate the judicial recommendations. Do you know how likely they are to follow those recommendations? Is that possibly a reason? The judge recommended that he be as close to home as possible, and that he participate in the drug program. Also do you know anything about the drug program?




Transport to a processing center is basically a normal procedure, the unsual part is the different diversions getting there, that is what makes no sense.

You are right, not everyone goes through that process and I agree it’s not fair but it does go back to an individuals case and the BOP has certain guidelines they follow.

The BOP does follow the court orders of the judge and its’ recommendation. The thing to remember here is that the BOP in general also has rules and regulation set in place which they follow. Another interesting fact is that each institution has a warden and camp administrator who also have a set of rules in place.

I have no details of the drug programs however they are available but space, time frame and acceptance is a factor. The drug programs do reduce an inmates sentence considerably (up to a year) but again there is a waiting list and requires a transfer to a facility that has one. That also may be the reason for the unusual transit of your husband.

Joselynne, please note that there will be a lot of things that will not make sense and even seem crazy at times but he will be all right. The key thing to do is to always keep a line of communication between both of you, write letters, phone calls and visitation.

A ray of hope, my wife and I grew closer to each other and God, I pray the same will happen to your marriage as well. God bless!


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