FCI Tallahassee Attorney and Legal Services

Nov, 07 11 Post by: admin | No Comments

Attorney Visits

Visits by retained and appointed attorneys and by attorneys requested by an inmate family in contemplation of prospective legal representation shall be permitted. Attorney visits will ordinarily take place during regular visiting hours. However, depending upon the nature and urgency of the legal problems involved, attorneys may be allowed to visit after duty hours when deemed appropriate by the Unit Manager/Designee. The length of these visits must be kept to a minimum time requirement due to staff-to-inmate ratio for security purposes.

The Unit Team will be responsible for scheduling all attorney visits to include those on non-visiting days. Attorneys will request their visits in advance in writing; however, a phone call, e-mail message or fax message can be accepted. If a phone call is utilized, a Unit Team member will prepare a memorandum stating the time, date, inmate’s register number, attorney’s name, law firm, and any other pertinent information for the Unit Manager’s review and approval. Visits can be approved and scheduled during non-visiting days according to the availability of Unit Team. The attorney shall routinely make an advance appointment for the visit with the Unit Team. Every effort should be made to accommodate an attorney’s visits where prior notification was not practical.
Written approval must be granted by the Warden prior to use of tape recordings by attorneys during the course of his/her visit. Any immediate grievance or concerns an attorney may have concerning his/her client during the visit shall immediately be referred to the Captain, Operations Lieutenant, or the Duty Officer.

The use of assistants by attorneys (paralegal) is recognized, and they will have the same status as the attorney with respect to visiting and correspondence. An attorney who employs an assistant and who wishes the assistant to visit or correspond with an inmate shall meet the same requirements for visiting as the attorney.


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 that he/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.


During attorney visits, a reasonable amount of legal materials may be allowed in the visiting area with prior approval. Legal material may be transferred during attorney visits, but is subject to inspection for contraband. 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.


In order to make an unmonitored phone call between an attorney and an inmate, the inmate must follow procedures established by the institution. Phone calls placed through the regular inmate phones are subject to monitoring.


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, Institution Supplements, Indexes, and other legal materials. The Law Library is open during convenient non-working hours, including weekends. An inmate Law Library Clerk is available for assistance in legal research. Legal materials are also available to inmates in detention or segregation status, ordinarily via a delivery system or satellite collection. Electronic Law Library (ELL) is also available.


Notary Services are provide ordinarily every 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, flyers will be posted in the housing units on the exact date, time and place where these services will be rendered. An outside Notary will be utilized to perform this function. There is a fee for this service. A BP-199 should be entered in the computer and printed out but not signed. All BP-199 must be signed in the presence of the unit team.


Inmates may copy materials necessary for their research or legal matters. A copier is available in the Education Department for inmate use, but you must buy the copy card in the Commissary. 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.


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 from the Safety Manager.


The Privacy Act of 1974 forbids the release of information from agency records without a written request by, 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 (including Program Statements and Operations Memorandum) shall be processed through the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC 552.


An inmate may request review of disclosable portions of her central file (plus Pre-Sentence Report and/or Summary) prior to the individual’s parole hearing. Unit staff will permit the review of the central file. (Note: Inmates are no longer authorized to retain their Pre-Sentencing Reports (PSR’s) or Pre-Sentencing Investigations report (PSI’S). Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action taken.)


An inmate can request access to the “Non-Disclosable Documents” in his central file and medical file, or other documents concerning himself that 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 record. The inmate must also provide his registration number and date of birth for identification purposes. A request on behalf of an inmate by an attorney, for records concerning that 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.


The Bureau advises all inmates that 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 that 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 basic civil rights and facilitates the restoration of professional and other licenses that may have been lost by reason of the conviction. Other forms of executive clemency include commutation of sentence (a 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.


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 that are 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 (5) 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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