BOP Implementing Modified Operations

In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the BOP is operating under the following conditions for the next 30 days:

SOCIAL VISITS: Social visits are suspended. Inmate telephone system minutes will be increased to 500 minutes per calendar month Bureau-wide.

INMATE MOVEMENT (Updated): As we previously described generally, inmate internal movement is suspended with limited exceptions. This suspension, however, does not mean the BOP has ceased all inmate movements because the federal judicial system as well as state courts continue to process criminal cases.

These movement exceptions may include, but are not limited to, transfers related to forensic studies, writs, Interstate Agreements on Detainers (IAD), medical or mental health reasons (including local medical trips), and RRC placements. To be clear, the BOP may need to move inmates to better manage the detention bedspace as well as assure that administrative facilities do not become overcrowded beyond available resources.

All inmates are being authorized for movements from all facilities under the following conditions:

  • Inmates must have been in BOP custody for greater than 14 days;
  • Perform an exit screening for COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath and temperature).
    • If the inmate has no symptoms and a temperature less than 100.4 degrees F, the inmate will be transferred;
    • If the inmate has COVID-19 symptoms, or temperature greater than 100.4 degrees F, they will not be transferred and will instead be immediately placed in isolation.
  • Regional Directors will notify the BOP Emergency Operations Center prior to movement in order to track and monitor movement.

The BOP emphasizes that all inmates regardless of where they are being housed are screened for COVID-19 prior to movement. Both the BOP and USMS are using screening protocols for both inmates and staff.

LEGAL VISITS: Legal visits will be suspended for 30 days, at which time the suspension will be re-evaluated. Case-by-case approval at the local level and confidential legal calls will be allowed in order to ensure access to counsel. If approved for an in-person visit, the attorney will need to undergo screening using the same procedures as staff.

Access to legal counsel remains a paramount requirement and will be accommodated to the maximum extent practicable. Although legal visits are generally suspended for 30-days, case-by-case accommodation will be made at the local level. If approved for an in-person visit, the attorney will need to undergo advanced health screening, to include a temperature check.

OFFICIAL STAFF TRAVEL: Official staff travel, with the exception of relocation travel, is suspended.

TRAINING: All staff training is suspended (to include conferences and meetings), with the exception of basic training for new staff.

CONTRACTORS: Contractors performing essential services or necessary maintenance on essential systems will undergo advanced health screening, to include a temperature check. All other contractor access is suspended. Contractors who require access will be screened using the same procedures as staff prior to entry.

Essential services include, for example, medical services, mental health services, religious services and critical infrastructure repairs.

A copy of the Visitor/Volunteer/Contractor COVID-19 Screening Tool will be required for all vistors, volunteers, and contractors. A copy will be provided by staff members at the lobby for all institutions.

VOLUNTEERS: Volunteer visits are suspended, unless approved by the Deputy Director of the BOP. Alternate means of communication will be considered for inmates who request to speak with a religious advisor. Volunteers who are approved for access will be screened using the same procedures as staff prior to entry.

A copy of the Visitor/Volunteer/Contractor COVID-19 Screening Tool will be required for all vistors, volunteers, and contractors. A copy will be provided by staff members at the lobby for all institutions.

SCREENING OF STAFF: Enhanced health screening of staff will be implemented in areas with "sustained community transmission" and at medical referral centers. Sustained community transmission is determined by the CDC and will be indicated on the map on this resource page where state community transmission indicates "Yes". Such screening includes self-reporting and temperature checks for the next 30 days, at which time the process will be reevaluated.

SCREENING OF INMATES: The BOP will continue to screen inmates for COVID-19 following previously-indicated practices:

  • All newly-arriving BOP inmates are screened for COVID-19 exposure risk factors and symptoms.
  • Asymptomatic inmates with exposure risk factors are quarantined.
  • Symptomatic inmates with exposure risk factors will be isolated and tested for COVID-19 per local health authority protocols.

TOURS: Tours are suspended. Any exceptions must be approved by the Deputy Director. If approved, participants will be screened using the same procedures as staff prior to entry.

MODIFIED OPERATIONS: BOP is implementing modified operations to maximize social distancing in our facilities, as much as practicable. Such actions will include consideration of staggered meal times and staggered recreation times, for example, in order to limit congregate gatherings.

PRIVATE DETENTION CONTRACTORS: This COVID-19 guidance is being shared with private prisons and RRCs for dissemination to staff and inmates in these facilities, so that similar protocols can be implemented.