Skip to main content

Primary tabs

Criminal Resource Manual

734. Processing of Prisoner Transfer Requests

Congress conferred the power to administer the International Prisoner Transfer Program on the Attorney General. See 18 U.S.C. § 4102. The Attorney General delegated this authority to the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division, who delegated the authority to the Office of Enforcement Operations (OEO). Within OEO, the Director and Associate Directors have the authority to make the final transfer decision. See 28 C.F.R. § 0.64-2. The International Prisoner Transfer Unit (IPTU), a component of OEO, serves as the central authority for the daily administration of the transfer program.

Most federal prisoners submit their transfer request in the prison where they are serving their sentence, although sometimes the prisoner's country will initiate the request. Once the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) receives the request, the prisoner's case manager will prepare an application package and submit it to the Central Office of BOP in Washington, which will review it for completeness before forwarding to the IPTU. Upon receiving the application, the IPTU enters pertinent case data in its computer system and assigns the case to an analyst for further investigation and for preparation of a detailed recommendation memo. The Chief of the IPTU reviews this memo and makes a transfer recommendation to the Director or to one of the Associate Directors in OEO, who will make the final transfer decision. In those cases where the United States denies the request, it will inform all pertinent parties and notify the prisoner that, provided that there will be at least six months remaining on the sentence, he can reapply for transfer in two years. Occasionally the denial may be based on one factor such as a pending appeal which is expected to only be a temporary impediment to transfer. In those situations, the IPTU will entertain an earlier reapplication and frequently will reconsider the case without a specific request.

If the United States approves the transfer request, it will inform the prisoner's home country and request its decision on the transfer request. If the receiving country approves the transfer, the next step is for the IPTU to make arrangements for a consent verification hearing (CVH) to be held. See Criminal Resource Manual 741. This hearing, which is mandated by 18 U.S.C. § 4107 and is conducted by a federal magistrate, is held to confirm that the prisoner consents to the transfer and understands the consequences of the transfer. Once the prisoner provides his consent at the CVH, the BOP makes arrangements with the foreign country to send escorts to the United States to accompany the prisoner on his return and then moves the prisoner to a prison facility near the departure point.

With respect to Americans who are transferring back to the United States, BOP will send escorts to return the prisoner to the United States, where the prisoner will remain in BOP custody pending a release date determination by the United States Parole Commission. The Parole Commission is responsible for reviewing the sentence and applying the sentencing guidelines to the transferred sentence to determine a release date for the prisoner. 18 U.S.C. § 4106A. BOP then applies the good conduct time credits or other credits that prisoner may have earned abroad to determine a projected release date. If the projected release date has already passed, it will release the prisoner; otherwise BOP will retain custody of the prisoner until his sentence has been successfully served. A period of supervised release may follow depending on how much time remains on the transferred foreign sentence.

[New March 2012] [cited in USAM 9-35.010]