The difference between self-surrender and remanded custody in federal prison

Federal prison in Honolulu Hawaii
Written By Rdap Dan

Self-Surrender vs Remanded Custody Status

Self-surrender and remanded custody statuses are two methods of getting into a Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp. The first, remanded custody status requires the defendant to be escorted by the United States Marshals under remanded care.

The second option, self-surrender, requires the defendant to surrender him/herself to a federal prison where they will start serving their prison sentence. People held to be at a flight risk or higher risk to the general population have to be remanded to custody and are not required to turn themselves in. People subjected to remand custody are housed in a federal detention center or county jail during their pre-trial, trial and the sentencing phases.

After the court finds a person guilty and sentences them to an incarceration term, the United States Marshals Service then has to transport them to the federal prison that they have been sentenced to.

Remanded custody vs self-surrender decision

Mostly, the United States magistrate judge has to decide whether a federal criminal defendant will be remanded to custody or released on their recognizance. While there are statutory presumptions that the judge has to grant release, that is not always the case. The magistrate judge holds a bond hearing to allow both the defense counsel and the US attorney assigned to the criminal case present their sides.

If the judge denies bond, the defendant has a chance of appealing the decision. You should note that before the case hearing, the Pre-trial Services speaks with the defendant and their family in an effort of writing a report that opposes or recommends self-surrender status.

What happens after the decision?

You will be housed in the jail that housed you before the bond hearing pending the outcome of your case if the decision requires you to be remanded to custody. If the decision grants you self-surrender status, the court will release you on your recognizance, or promise to return, or grant you unsecured bond, which will be paid if you happen to violate the conditional release terms. The bond mostly requires collateral like property.

While different defendants, judges and fact situations result in different conditions for the pre-trial release, if permitted, you will have to live with an ankle monitor that will track all your movements. The court will also assign you a Pre-Trial Release Officer with whom you will have to report to regularly for activities monitor and drug testing.

There are various types of pre-trial release, which highly depend on the legal power in question. The jurisdiction might require the defendant on pre-trial release to stay in a secure center such as Residential Re-entry Centre or halfway houses. The houses allow working during the day and the defendant returns to sleep at night. The system is similar to traditional halfway house models that most federal prisoners enlist to in the final part of their imprisonment term.

You might be tempted to try the pre-trial release, but it is good you remain in jail and get the jail credit, which will be applicable in your sentencing, if you will not be able to adhere to the pre-trial release agreement rules. However, it is worth consideration.  

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