Tribal Offenders

The BOP may house offenders sentenced in Tribal Courts, providing them with a range of programs.

A rock in the desert, by A. Perucchi (Wikimedia Commons).

The Tribal Law and Order Act

The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 (TLOA) was signed into law on July 29, 2010. The Act created a number of useful programs to include the development of a Tribal Justice Plan, the BOP Tribal Law and Order Pilot Program, and the creation of the Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse.

The Tribal Justice Plan

TLOA required the Departments of Justice and the Interior to develop a long-term plan to build and enhance tribal justice systems (Tribal Justice Plan), which responds to sections 211, 241, and 244 of the Act. The Tribal Justice Plan addresses incarceration in Indian Country, alternatives to incarceration, and offender reentry.

Tribal Justice Plan Resources:

BOP Tribal Law and Order Act Pilot

TLOA created a pilot program that authorizes the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to house for a period of four years a limited number of certain offenders sentenced in Tribal Courts. The pilot program allows any federally recognized tribe to request that the BOP incarcerate a tribe member convicted under the terms of section 234 of the Act. By statute, the BOP began to accept referrals on November 26, 2010, and the pilot will conclude on November 26, 2014; a maximum of 100 offenders are authorized to be included in the pilot at any one time.

The BOP's goal is to reduce future criminal activity by encouraging inmates to participate in a range of programs that have been proven to help them adopt a crime-free lifestyle upon their return to the community. Accordingly, the BOP provides many self-improvement programs, including work in prison industries and other institution jobs, vocational training, education, substance abuse treatment, parenting, anger management, counseling, religious observance opportunities, and other programs that teach essential life skills.

The TLOA Pilot Program contains details on program eligibility and the referral process, as well as all documents needed for Tribal judges to complete a referral for a Tribal offender to be evaluated for pilot eligibility. If you have additional questions about this pilot, please contact the BOP at the following:

Chief - Designation and Sentence Computation Center
Grand Prairie Office Complex
U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Complex
346 Marine Forces Drive
Grand Prairie, TX 75051

Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse

On July 29, 2011, one year after TLOA was signed into law, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar, and U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General Eric Holder entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to combat alcohol and substance abuse among American Indian/Alaska Native Tribes. This memorandum was formally published in the Federal Register and individual notification was mailed to all 565 federally recognized tribes. See relevant links below:

For more information, please visit the Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). As called for by TLOA, the Office will coordinate tribal substance abuse programs across the Federal Government with a special emphasis on promoting programs geared to reaching youth and offering alternatives to incarceration.