Outgoing federal prisoners remain in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons until they can be turned over to foreign corrections officials, usually at our border (in the case of Canada and Mexico) or at an international airport. Prior to transfer, prisoners receive a "consent verification hearing," in which a United States Magistrate Judge determines that the prisoner understands the effect of his transfer and confirms that he consents to transfer. (See 18 U.S.C. § 4107.) State prisoners are usually turned over to federal custody following their consent verification hearing. Sometimes state prisoners will remain in state custody pending the foreign country confirming its retrieval arrangements. Incoming American prisoners also receive a consent verification hearing in the foreign country before transfer. (See 18 U.S.C. § 4108.) All prisoners are assisted at these hearings by Federal Public Defenders or, if desired, by private counsel. BOP will make arrangements with the foreign governments to retrieve the prisoners. When American prisoners are involved BOP also relies on assistance from the U.S. Embassy. The time between the approval of a transfer request by both countries and the actual transfer varies widely. A wait of at least three months is typical.
Once the prisoner is transferred to another country, the completion of the transferred offender's sentence is carried out in accordance with the laws and procedures of the receiving country, including those governing the reduction of the term of confinement by parole, conditional release, or otherwise. The term of incarceration cannot exceed that imposed by the foreign government. In the case of a returning American, the United States Parole Commission determines the release date in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 4106A. Jurisdiction over the underlying conviction and over proceedings to modify or set aside the sentence remains with the country in which sentence was imposed.