Prison Education Basics 101

By George Hook

Congress has legislated that the Bureau of Prisons, under the direction of the Attorney General, provide for the instruction of all persons charged with or convicted of offenses against the United States, to include establishing prerelease planning procedures that help prisoners apply for Federal and State benefits upon release and reentry planning procedures that include providing Federal prisoners with information in health and nutrition, employment, literacy and education, personal finance and consumer skills, community resources, personal growth and development, and release requirements and procedures.

Pursuant to this mandate, the Bureau of Prisons has provided that all its institutions must provide General Educational Development ("GED"), English as a Second Language ("ESL"), adult continuing education ("ACE"), library services, parenting, and recreational programs.  Additionally, all institutions except satellite prison camps, detention centers, and metropolitan correctional centers are mandated to have a Full Educational Program ("FEP").

A satellite prison camp is a minimum security camp adjacent to, and servicing, a larger federal institution.  It may also provide Inmate workers for other off-site locations.  Currently, satellite camps are adjacent to 63 institutions, being: Aliceville, Ashland, Atlanta, Atwater, Bastrop, Beaumont, Beckley, Bennettsville, Berlin, Big Sandy, Big Spring, Butner, Canaan, Carswell, Coleman Cumberland, Danbury, Devens, Dublin, Edgefield, El Reno, Englewood, Estill, Fairton, Florence, Forrest City, Fort Dix, Gilmer, Greenville, Hazelton, Herlong, Jesup, La Tuna, Leavenworth, Lee, Lewisburg, Lexington, Lompoc, Loretto, Manchester, Marianna, Marion, McCreary, McDowell, McKean, Mendota, Miami, Oakdale, Otisville, Oxford, Pekin, Petersburg, Phoenix, Pollock, Schuylkill, Seagoville, Sheridan, Talladega, Terre Haute, Texarkana, Three Rivers, Tucson, Victorville, Williamsburg, and Yazoo.

There is always an exception which proves the rule.  FCI Memphis has a "non-adjacent" satellite camp that serves similar needs to those of adjacent camps.  At February month end there were 18,446 prisoners in these camps.  They are being deprived of FEP.  The BOP excuse for this deprivation may be that satellite prisoners can benefit from FEP at their base institution.  Although that is contrary to what I know based on Oxford, my information may be anecdotal and outdated.  Therefore, I would encourage comments from those of our readers who are at satellite camps.  The results as to each camp will be published, and, if the response volume warrants, also the aggregate conclusion. 

There are six non-satellite camps that have FEP.  They are Alderson, Bryan, Duluth, Montgomery, Pensacola, and Yankton.  This information may be valuable to undesignated defendants who qualify for camp and may want to influence their location based on whether FEP is available. 

The detention centers are for (1) the housing of pre-trial inmates— Honolulu, Houston, Miami, Oakdale, Philadelphia, Seatac, Brooklyn, Guaynabo, Los Angeles, [housing 9,985 @2/28/2013] and the mccs—chicago, New York and san diego [housing 2,484 @ 2/28/2013] ; (2) the treatment of inmates with serious or chronic medical problems—Butner, Carswell, Devens, Lexington, Rochester, Springfield [housing 7,161 @ 2/28/2013]--or (3) the containment of extremely dangerous, violent, or escape-prone inmates—FLORENCE ADMAX USP. Sampling of USP A&O Manuals indicates that USPs categorically have no FEP.  However, the most restrictive FLORENCE ADMAX has facility for in-cell educational programming, which can facilitate one college correspondence course per semester.

There is one other facility—the Federal Transfer Center, Oklahoma City Oklahoma—which provides temporary holding for those [1,443 @ 2/28/2013] subjected to diesel therapy, which provides no educational programming, justifiably so, presumably, as it would be entirely transitory, except for an unfortunate prisoner work cadre.

Back of the class, there are 39,519 prisoners who do not have access to FEP.  That's more than 18% of the total Federal Inmate Population.