FCI Gilmer Attorney and Legal Services

Nov, 07 11 Post by: admin | No Comments

Legal Correspondence

Legal correspondence from attorneys will be treated as “Special Mail” if it is properly marked. The envelope must be marked with the attorney’s name and an indication he or she is an attorney and the front of the envelope must be marked “Special Mail – open only in the presence of the inmate.” It is the responsibility of the inmate to advise his attorney about this policy. If legal mail is not properly marked, it will be opened as general correspondence.

Attorney Visits

Attorneys shall make advance appointments for each visit. Attorneys are encouraged to visit during the regular visiting hours. However, visits from an attorney can be arranged at other times based on the circumstances of each case and the availability of staff. Attorney visits will be subject to visual monitoring, but not audio monitoring.

Legal Material

During attorney visits, a reasonable amount of legal materials may be allowed in the visiting area with prior approval. Legal material may be shown, but not given to the inmate during an attorney visit. This material will be treated in a similar manner as the “Special Mail” procedures described above. Inmates are expected to handle the transfer of legal materials through the mail as often as possible.

Attorney Phone Calls

In order to make an unmonitored phone call with an attorney, the inmate must demonstrate to the Unit Team the need, such as an imminent court deadline and that communication with his attorney by other means is not adequate. Phone calls placed through the regular inmate phones are subject to monitoring.

Law Library

The Law Library is located in the Education Department, and contains a variety of legal reference materials for use in preparing legal papers. Reference materials include the United States Code Annotated, Federal Reporter, Supreme Court Reporter, Bureau of Prisons Program Statements, Institutional Supplements, Indexes, and other legal materials. The Law Library is open during convenient non-working hours, including Saturdays. An inmate Law Library Clerk is available for assistance in legal research. Legal materials are also available to inmates in the Special Housing Unit.

Notary Public

Under the provisions of 18 USC 4004, Case Managers are authorized to witness documents. A recent change in the law allows a statement to the effect of papers which an inmate signs are “true and correct under penalty of perjury” will suffice in federal courts and other federal agencies, unless specifically directed to do otherwise. Some states will not accept a government notarization for real estate transactions, automobile sales, etc. In these cases, it will be necessary to contact unit staff for arrangements with the institution’s notary public. Documents will be notarized staff once an Inmate Request to Staff Member is received.

Copies of Legal Material

In accordance with institution procedures, inmates may copy material necessary for their research or legal matters. A copying machine is available in the Education Department for inmate use for a nominal fee. Individuals who have no funds and who can demonstrate a clear need for particular copies, may submit a written request for a reasonable amount of free duplication.

Federal Tort Claims

If the negligence of institution staff results in personal injury or property loss or damage to an inmate, it can be the basis of a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. To file such a claim, inmates must complete a Standard Form 95. They can obtain this form by submitting an Inmate Request to Staff Member to their Unit Manager.

Freedom of Information/Privacy Act of 1974

The Privacy Act of 1974 forbids the release of information from agency records without a written request, or without the prior written consent of the individual to whom the record pertained, except for specific instances. All formal requests for access to records about another person and/or agency record other than those pertaining to themselves shall be processed through the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC 552.

Inmate Access to Central Files

An inmate may request review of disclosable portions of his central file (plus Presentence Report and/or Summary) prior to the individual’s parole hearing. Institution staff will permit the review of the central file under procedures established locally.

Inmate Access to Other Documents

An inmate can request access to the “Non-Disclosable Documents” in his central file and medical file, or other documents concerning himself which are not in his central file or medical file, by submitting a “Freedom of Information Act Request” to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, Attention: FOI Request. Such a request must briefly describe the nature of records wanted and approximate dates covered by the records. The inmate must also provide his registration number and date of birth for identification purposes.
A request on the behalf of an inmate by an attorney, for records concerning the inmate, will be treated as a “Privacy Act Request” if the attorney has forwarded an inmate’s written consent to disclose materials. If a document is deemed to contain information exempt from disclosure, any reasonable part of the record will be provided to the attorney after the deletion of the exempt portions.

Executive Clemency

The Bureau advises all inmates the President of the United States is authorized under the Constitution to grant executive clemency by pardon, commutation of sentence, or reprieve. A pardon is an executive act of grace which is a symbol of forgiveness. It does not connote innocence nor does it expunge the record of conviction. A pardon can be in “full” or “partial” depending on whether it absolves a person from all or a portion of the crime. A pardon may have conditions imposed upon it or it can be “absolute,” which is without conditions of any kind. A pardon restores civil rights and facilitates the restoration of professional and other licenses which may have been lost by reason of the conviction. Other forms of executive clemency include commutation of sentence (reduction of sentence imposed after a conviction), and a reprieve (the suspension of execution of a sentence for a period of time). Inmates should contact their assigned Case Manager for additional information regarding this program.

Commutation of Sentence

The Bureau also advises inmates on commutation of sentences. This is the form of executive clemency power used to provide post-conviction relief to inmates during their incarceration. This clemency power is authorized by the Constitution for the Chief Executive Officer, who is the President of the United States for federal offenses. Commutation of sentence is usually the last chance to correct an injustice which has occurred in the criminal justice process. Inmates applying for commutation of sentence must do so on forms available from the assigned unit team. The rules governing these petitions are available in the Law Library.


A pardon may not be applied for until the expiration of at least five years from the date of release from confinement. In some cases involving crimes of a serious nature, such as violation of Narcotics Laws, Gun Control Laws, Income Tax Laws, Perjury, and violation of public trust involving personal dishonesty, fraud involving substantial sums of money, violations involving organized crime, or crimes of a serious nature, a waiting period of seven years is usually required.

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