Freedom Of Information Act

A powerful resource for gaining access to our public records and information.

What Is FOIA?

The Freedom of Information Act was enacted in 1966 to provide any person with access to Federal agency records and information. It applies only to Federal agencies, not to records held by Congress, the courts, or by state or local government agencies (each state has its own public access laws that should be consulted for access to state and local records). See the U.S. Department of Justice FOIA page for more information on the Freedom of Information Act.


BOP's FOIA Service Center

The BOP's FOIA Service Center (FSC) is available to requestors seeking information concerning the status of a submitted FOIA request.

BOP FSC: (202) 616-7750


BOP's FOIA Public Liaison

Any requester with concerns about the service received through the FOIA Service Center should contact the BOP FOIA Public Liaison (FPL). The Public Liaison should only be contacted after the requester has received an initial response from the FSC.

BOP's FPL: William Baumgartel

Electronic Reading Room

The Electronic Reading Room was developed to provide the public with access to certain types of information created by the Bureau of Prisons after November 1, 1996. These categories of documents, as outlined in the Freedom of Information Act 5 U.S.C.552(a)(2) include:

(A) final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, as well as orders, made in the adjudication of cases;

(B) those statements of policy and interpretations that have been adopted by the agency and are not published in the Federal Register;

(C) administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public;

(D) copies of all records, regardless of form or format, that have been released to any person under paragraph (3) and that, because of the nature of their subject matter, the agency determines have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the same records; and

(E) a general index of the records referred to under subparagraph (D)

These documents are also located in the conventional reading room. The conventional reading room is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., by appointment. A dedicated workstation is available for public use in accessing the Bureau's documents in electronic format. Access to the Internet, particularly the BOP home page - http://www.bop.gov - is available.

Location and Contact

Street Address:
Federal Bureau of Prisons Library
400 First Street, NW
3rd Floor
Washington, DC 20534

Mailing Address:
Federal Bureau of Prisons Library
320 First Street, NW
Bldg. 400, 3rd Fl.
Washington, DC 20534

Telephone:
(202)307-3029 (appointments and information)
(202)307-5756 fax

e-mail:
library@bop.gov

If you do not find the information you need in the reading room, please submit a FOIA request via our online form.

 
   Final Opinions made in the adjudication of cases  

The Bureau of Prisons adjudicates no cases.

 
   Statements of Policy  

Bureau of Prisons Policy are referred to as Program Statements

 

   Administrative Staff Manuals and instructions to staff that
 affect a member of the public
 

Bureau of Prisons staff manuals and instructions to staff are referred to as Technical Reference Manuals

 

   Frequently Requested Records  

Community Confinement Procedure Changes, December 20, 2002:


Employment Information Handbook: provides inmates with contacts and other information that can help them prepare for release.

Inmate Locator: tool to locate information on an inmate.

Purchase Cardholders (updated quarterly)

Forms

Visiting Forms

State of the Bureau (current version)

 

   Index of Frequently Requested Records  

See itemized list above

 

   Proactive Disclosures  

Budget:


Menus:


 
   Operational Review Reports  

Program Review Division, August 2009


Updated June 3, 2010

Exemptions & Redactions

The Freedom of Information Act applies to all information and records with strictly limited exceptions. Most BOP Program Statements (policies) are included on this website, except those classified as Limited Official Use Only and a few that are not of sufficient public interest.

Some material in Program Statements may be "redacted" or withheld. Redacted material is indicated in the text by a bold number in brackets; e.g.,[§552(b)(2)]. The number refers to one of the FOIA exemptions.

FOIA Exemptions:

  • Information properly classified as secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy
  • Related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency
  • Information specifically made confidential by other statutes
  • Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential
  • Inter- or intra-agency memoranda or letters, except under certain circumstances
  • Personnel and medical files and similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
  • Information compiled for law enforcement purposes, under certain conditions
  • Contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports concerning financial institutions
  • Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning oil wells

Contacting the Bureau's FOIA Office

Write to:
Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Section
Office of General Counsel, Room 841
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20534

You can request FOIA information online (but this may not work with all computers).

Finding the location of a Federal inmate?

You can search for a Federal inmate online using the Inmate Locator tool.

BOP's FOIA Reading Room

Where: Federal Bureau of Prisons
500 First Street, N.W. - Seventh Floor (BOP Library)
Washington, DC 20534
Telephone: 202-307-3029

When: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, EXCEPT on Federal holidays. Please call ahead for an appointment.

How: A picture I.D. is REQUIRED for entry.

What is BOP's FOIA Electronic Reading Room

The Electronic Reading Room is part of this website and contains frequently requested records, opinions, policies, staff manuals, and instructions to staff created by the BOP after November 1, 1996.

Obtaining information without a FOIA Request

Inmates can get their central or medical files at their institution.

The BOP’s Inmate Locator will give information on where an inmate is located.

For other information about the BOP, call (202) 307-3198.

How do requests get processed?

The BOP puts your FOIA request on one of two tracks, depending on your circumstances.

TRACK ONE is for requests that ask for:

  • Quicker processing under FOIA (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(E))
  • Program Statements (policies)
  • BOP information
  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM) investigations information
  • Inmate central files or medical records (with proper authorization)

TRACK TWO is generally for requests that need more time to process, such as:

  • Requests asking for contract information
  • Media requests
  • Requests asking for information on investigations by BOP’s Office of Internal Affairs

Former Inmates obtaining medical records

Send a written request to:

FOIA/PA Section
Office of General Counsel, Room 841
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20534

The request must specifically describe the records being sought and provide identifying data, such as date of birth and register number, if known. Also, to ensure that private information is not released to anyone else, the requester must verify his/her identity either by a notarized original signature or by submitting an original signed Form DOJ-361, Certification of Identity.

Seeking research information

Fees for processing FOIA/PA requests are authorized by Department of Justice regulations published at 28 Code of Federal Regulations Part 16. As a non-commercial requester, you will be charged only for search time that exceeds two hours and copies in excess of 100 pages. Duplication charges are $.10 per page.

I am dissatisfied

I have not received all the information I requested. If I am dissatisfied with the Bureau's determination to withhold some of this information, what can I do?

You can appeal the Bureau's decision by submitting your complaint within 60 days to:

Office of Information and Privacy
US Department of Justice
1425 New York Avenue, N.W.
Suite 11050
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Response Format

You may request your information be provided as a hard copy or in electronic format. However, be advised that it is not always possible to convert requested information into electronic format.

Information about a person

If the information you seek is not available on the Inmate Locator, you must submit a request, along with a signed authorization from the person to whom the records pertain. That authorization must be an original document (not a copy), and must be notarized or signed under penalty of perjury. You may also use a DOJ-361 form.

Processing charges

Is there a charge for processing FOIA requests?

You may be charged fees in relation to your request. By submitting a request, you are agreeing to pay up to $25.00. If the estimated amount of fees is over $25.00, you will be notified of the actual or estimated amount.

Privacy Impact Assessments


The BOP is responsible for ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of the information it collects on members of the public, inmates, and its own employees. These individuals have a right to expect that BOP will collect, maintain, use, and disseminate identifiable personal information only as authorized by law and as necessary to carry out agency responsibilities.


The E-Government Act of 2002 requires that Federal agencies conduct Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) for applicable electronic information systems. The PIA process evaluates issues related to the privacy of personally identifiable information in electronic systems. Personally identifiable information is defined as information that actually identifies an individual, e.g., name, address, social security number (SSN), or identifying number or code; or other personal/sensitive information such as race, date of birth, home telephone number, personal e-mail address, etc.

PIAs are available for the following systems:

ACES/Web VisitingAccess Control and Visiting system
BEMRBureau Electronic Medical Records System
CTSCorrespondence Tracking System
Forensic LabBureau Forensic Mobile Device Laboratory
FPI Millennium SAP systemEnterprise Resource Planning System
HR Automation (QuickHire)BOP vacancy and applicant system
SBISSecurity Background Investigation System
SENTRYInmate management system
TRUFACSTrust Fund Accounting System
TRUFONEInmate telephone system
TRUNETTrust Fund Network
VCIVolunteer Contractor Information System

Requests for PIAs can also be made to the Freedom of Information Office.

Online FOIA Request

You May Not Need to Make a FOIA Request! You may be able to access the information you require via the World Wide Web without making a FOIA request. Many documents are available on the Bureau of Prisons' or other websites. Also, frequently requested information is available electronically in our electronic reading room.

If you have visited the reading room and were not able to find the information you are looking for, you may need to make a FOIA request. Please follow the guidelines below so we can respond to your request as quickly as possible.


Do not use this form if you are seeking non public information on an individual. Requests for information on an individual must be accompanied by an authorization and submitted via mail. For more information on seeking non-public information on an individual please see the FAQ


Electronic FOIA Request Form

CONTACT INFORMATION

 

Today's Date:

 

Requestor's Name:

 

Address1:

 

(Optional) Address2:

 

City:

State:
 

Zip Code:

 

E-Mail:

 

(Optional) Telephone:

 

(Optional) Facsimile:

DESCRIPTION OF RECORDS SOUGHT

I request that a copy of the following documents/information be provided to me:


ASSESSMENT OF FEES

To help us determine your fee status, check ONE of the following requestor categories:

an individual seeking information for personal use
affiliated with a private corporation and seeking information for use in the company's business
affiliated with an educational institution and seeking information for a scholarly purpose
affiliated with a noncommercial scientific institution and seeking information for a scientific purpose
a representative of the news media seeking information as part of a news gathering effort (if media, please identify organization with which you are affiliated: )

EXPEDITED PROCESSING

I request expedited processing of my request and have described in detail why I believe my request warrants it:

no compelling need exists to warrant expedited processing of this request
an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual exists
an urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity exists (this option available ONLY for requestors primarily engaged in disseminating information)

Please describe your justification for expedited processing.


PAYMENT OF FEES

I am willing to pay $ or in search, duplication, and processing fees to receive records responsive to this request. If I agree to fees, I understand that I will be notified before fees are incurred ONLY where fees apply and are expected to exceed the amount I have indicated.

Payment must be made via check or money order, payable to the Treasury of the United States.

FEE WAIVER / REDUCTION IN FEES

The Freedom of Information Reform Act of 1986 provides that documents are to be furnished without any charge or at a charge reduced below the fees established if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requestor.

To evaluate whether the statutory standard authorizing a fee waiver or reduction has been met, we will need additional information upon which to base our determination. If you would like to request a fee waiver, please provide additional information as justification for a fee waiver and/or reduction in fees:

Your FOIA request has been sent. Thank you for your interest, you should receive a response shortly.

+ Submit Another Request

Track FOIA Request

If you have previously submitted a FOIA Request, you may use the box below to check the status of your request. Please fill in your request number to obtain a status update.

The database is updated on a daily basis. The BOP's FOIA Service Center (FSC) is also available to requestors seeking additional information about the BOP's FOIA program: (202) 616-7750, however, the Service Center will not be able to provide any more information than is available via this status page. Specific questions or concerns should be addressed with the office assigned to process your request.

Note: The entire Bureau of Prisons website and Electronic Reading Room provides immediate access to frequently requested information. Other information may be publicly available on other government websites such as FOIA.GOV.



Request Number:   

 Request  Status  Office Assigned  Date Received

Office Phone Number E-Mail Address
Central Office 202-616-7750 OGC_EFOIA@BOP.GOV
Southeast Region 352-689-7384 CCGREENE@BOP.GOV
South Central Region 972-730-8600 SCRO/FOIA@bop.gov
Western Region 209-956-9739 WXRO/FOIA@bop.gov
North Central Region 913-551-1004 NCRO/FOIA~@BOP.GOV
Northeast Region 215-521-7391 NERO/FOIA~@bop.gov
Mid-Atlantic Region 859-255-6812 LEX/FOIA~@BOP.GOV