“So, I am stuck in the halfway house this weekend?”

Why do some federal prisoners with an 18-month sentence receive five months in the federal halfway house, while prisoners with the same sentence in a separate facility receive only 2 months? Easy. It is a subjective process.

The Truth About Passes In The Federal Halfway House

The Truth About Passes In The Federal Halfway House

Rather than treat each federal prisoner the same way, the folks who run federal prisons and federal halfway houses will treat you differently based on how they perceive or like you. Certainly, each federal prisoner has their own unique story. Some of those stories absolutely warrant varying levels of treatment. But generally speaking their perception and liking of you will influence how they treat you. Like it or not, that is reality.

Yesterday while watching a baseball game at Calabasas High School, I received a message from a white collar defendant.

On our call, I learned the federal halfway house Case Manager shut down his weekend pass to leave the halfway house. He was upset. He was angry that he had to stay behind in that “rat infested filthy halfway house,” instead of spending time with his children.

“Why did they shut down your weekend pass?”, I asked him.

“The case manager did not think I was taking my release seriously. She did not like my answers to her questions. She thought I had a cavalier attitude. To punish me, she shut down my weekend pass. The truth is others here do much less than me and get their weekend passes. She just does not like me.”

I do not know if this case manager likes him or not. That said, I do know know that their perception of you will influence how they treat you. I hate to say you have to play the game, but the truth about getting passes sometimes involves playing the game.

Let’ examine some requirements in the federal halfway house. Each week the Case Manager will require the inmate to attend a meeting. During that meeting, the Case Manager will use a series of forms as a guide through a personal interview. Questions will include:

    • Tell me about your progress over the week.
    • How is work?
    • Tell me what you have learned about living in society?
    • What challenges did you face?
    • How many hours did you work?
    • Were you ever late for work?
    • What counseling sessions did you attend?
    • How much money did you spend?
    • How much money did you save?
    • What did you do on your pass?

Inmate responses to those questions will go into a file that the Case Manager keeps on the inmate.

The Case Manager will use those reports as a basis for progress reports that the Bureau of Prisons requires.

From my call, I know this inmate was not engaged in this meeting and worse off, he did not take it seriously. That was it! Weekend pass denied. He will try again next week.

I understand many of you reading this should be not be going to federal prison. I understand the injustices (not in my case as I was guilty and deserved to be held accountable) that exist. Some of you are guilty, I know, but do not agree with the length of your federal prison term. I also know what your highest values are: family and freedom. To that end, keep those values in mind when you are meeting with staff inside a federal prison or Case Managers at the halfway house. Time with your family, might depend on it.


P.S. If you are getting sentenced you will find great value in our free report, How To Get The Best Outcome At Sentencing.