The Consequences of Breaking the Rules in Federal Prison Camp

Inside of Federal Prison Camp (a minimum security federal prison) when an inmate breaks the prison rules, there can be a number of ramifications depending on the severity of the rules that were broken. One thing that can happen is that they get a “shot”, which means a written warning or reprimand. The shot clearly relates the inmate’s infraction and it goes into the inmate’s Federal Prison Camp inmate file. The disciplinary action that follows a shot varies depending on the severity of the offense. One might find that they have been moved to a less desirable job, been stripped of their lower bunk bed rights (a real privilege in prison as it affords some privacy), lost their visitation rights, lost their commissary days and even lost their privilege to receive mail. In the most serious of cases, an inmate can lose his Federal Prison Camp status and he can be sent to a low or medium security federal prison, where life is much more difficult than in a Camp.

In more severe cases of inmates breaking the prison rules, they may be placed in the Special Housing Unit or The Hole. The hole is a separate building where inmates are confined to small one or two man cells for 23 hours a day. One hour a day is permitted for outdoor recreation, which consists of pacing in a large enclosed cage. Fighting, possession of serious contraband , threatening another inmate or staff member or trying to escape are all good ways to get yourself sent to the hole in a Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp. Unfortunately, the BOP can place you in the hole for “investigation” too. This means that if any officer has any suspicion, well founded or completely imagined, you can find yourself moved to a tiny cell for an indefinite period. This move is sometimes enacted by officers with a grudge against a certain inmate.

Discipline in a prison camp is easier to enforce and follow because of the privileges and certain rights inmates do receive.

Because the inmates in a Federal Prison Camp are relatively comfortable, the simple threat of removing these comforts means that most inmates obey the rules. Another reason that inmates in Minimum Security Federal Prisons tend to obey the rules is the fact that when one inmate breaks a rule, the whole camp is disciplined and punished for it. When two inmates fight, the entire Federal Prison Camp may lose their right to watch TV for a week. This kind of policy means that most inmates behave themselves.

Every federal prison camp in the nation is supposed to follow a written set of guidelines from the Bureau of prison (BOP). These general rules and regulations are written in detail and are posted in each Federal Prison Camp library for every inmate to see. Unfortunately, the rules as they are written and the rules as they are enforced can be two completely different things, a fact that any former inmate can attest to. When you file complaints against the BOP staff for example, you may quickly find yourself in the hole under investigation for some made up offense or even transferred to another prison for making imagined threats against staff.

The BOP material is organized with code numbers, titles, sections and sub-section. It takes a while to get familiarized with the information but worth the time to look through. It will let you know about a lot of information that you may not be aware of so look through it and make notes, but always keep in mind that the rules as they are written and the rules as they are enforced can differ enormously.

In order to benefit from the rules handed down by the BOP, is to follow what they tell you. It’s OK to ask questions about the subject you are addressing but only do it once to understand the administrations position on the subject and then follow what they say. Challenging a decision will only place you on a very real list of Federal Prison Camp inmate trouble makers.