1. Basic wedding band, Bible.
  2. Prescriptions for medications (4 weeks recommended, at worst they are thrown out, at best they are available for your use. When surrendering on weekends or holidays the BOP may allow these to be used if not available from their onsite pharmacy), medical devices, and glasses (that are not made with metal).
  3. ID: birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, and social security card.
  4. Cash; $320 ($370 in November and December), then use either Money Gram or Western Union for monthly deposits.
  5. Legal papers.
  6. List of personal names (including phone numbers and addresses).



I. Compassionate Release from COVID is ending 6/10/2023, but the Compassionate Release part is still being looked at by the USSC as recently as 2/2023)

II. RDAP, up to 1 year off a sentence.

III. Your Reentry/Release Plan that you started before your PSI, you could start with,

  • “Since my indictment and arrest, I had the time to think about all that I have done. Previously I didn’t even recognize all of my BAD decisions, but I realize that it’s not all about me. It’s about what I did and what I’m going to have to do to make things right.
    • So while waiting for my PSI, I read about the programs that address criminogenic needs, and there is much that I need to learn, and this is a place for me to start.”
    • You can include.
      • Your Narrative, Character Letters, Copies of Official I.D.,
      • A review of what you’ve been through, your investigation, criminal charge, plea hearing, trial or guilty plea, presentence investigation, and sentencing process. The sooner you begin to develop a reentry/release plan that works toward a better outcome – you will see that preparation fulfilled. We can’t change the past — we can impact our future.
  • Your immediate Goals – When You 1st Meet Your Case Manager:

1) You Want to Participate in The FRP (if applicable),

2) Requesting to take the SPARC-13 Assessment,

IV. FSA (for every 12 months of Programs (approximately) = 6 months early release), but confusion still reigns in the BOP as this 2/2023 as the BOP has decided to only allow 10 ETC per month even though the FSA allows for 15 ETC after 2 Assessments, should you be eligible.

V. Case Managers (one of your STAKEHOLDERS), How they see Progress, is through Incremental Improvement.

  • Other than the recommendations belowI do not know of any other way for a person to document their own efforts to improve themselves in the eyes of their STAKEHOLDERS.
    • Your Case Managers can ease your time while in prison, and some may proactively provide you with an early release through the 2nd Chance Act
  • Documenting Your FSA Progress Requires Building A New Habit, which Takes Time and Effort (Similar to documenting your records for Taxes, or when you purchase your first home – but here it impacts your life), through, 
    • The Books you read and FSA Classes you’ve taken – Your entries, at best should be daily,
    • FSA Programs: Compliment the teachers, write a takeaway of something that you learned that could be used in your life, and thank your counselor for suggesting the program and the new content you learned – No Matter What it was.
    • Non-Fiction Books, similarly, daily note what you found that you could implement in your life, and what you agreed with (or disagreed with) about your author.
    • Log every meeting you had with each BOP counselor, correction officer, or staff member by Name, date, time, and topic. All of the documentation and journalling is your Insurance, for your future protection. It is your Professional Log to refer to should any issues arise that challenge your Integrity, in order to Protect You Legally.
  • It will show the court how.
    • You constantly learning, striving to create a new path.
    • You’re addressing your criminogenic needs.
    • You’re working to reconcile with society, as you may have a request for the court later.
  • For the list of books you’d like to read, you’ve created a Pre-Set schedule, so it’s not the responsibility of just 1 person, and therefore cheaper for all
  • There may be someone who could also start a simple website for you, entering your daily routines.
  • While this can’t change the past – It Can Create Future Opportunities, to influence:
    • A more successful journey through prison.
    • An earlier release date with possibly, a shorter term on Supervised Release.
    • A more persuasive case for early termination of Supervised Release
  • A faster pathway to a successful career
  • From Amazon, purchase inexpensive softback, note-lined journals,
    • The BOP will only let them in if they have writing on the pages.
    • I have several examples on my website, the writing can be religious, inspirational, sports, really, almost anything – Just Not Blank Pages.

VI. Your Pre-Scheduled Reading Lists, Explained

  • These book summaries should answer three questions:
    • Why did you choose it?
    • What did you learn?
    • How will the book contribute to my success or how can you implement what you learned, upon release?

I had several terrifying moments through my ordeal, 1st was the knock at my door and coming face to face with a Federal Lawsuit, 2nd was the feeling that the only skill I had excelled at for the last several decades was foot and ankle medicine and surgery – and nothing else! What was I going to do?

There was never any guidance on a Narrative, Reentry Planning – Nothing

I Hope You Get My Meaning

For example, serving a four-year sentence, you should have a four-year reading list ready before surrendering – then decide what books that would help you progress toward your goals. 

  • This may seem premature at the time as you face this life-altering event, but pushing your way through it will pay dividends later.
  1. How to Cook a Wolf, by F.K. Fisher, Written to inspire courage in those daunted by wartime shortages, How to Cook a Wolf continues to rally cooks during times of plenty, reminding them that providing sustenance requires more than putting food on the table. 
  2. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a 1969 autobiography describing the young and early years of American writer and poet Maya Angelou. It is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how the strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma.
  3. The Three Laws of Performance, By Steve Zaffron, is a proven system for rallying all of an organization’s employees around a new vision and ideas for making the vision stick. Filled with illustrative examples from Northrup Grumman, BHP-Billiton, Reebok, Harvard Business School, and many others.
    • Two experts in the field show how to make major transformations happen.
    • The book outlines a process for engaging all employees to buy into an improved vision of an organization’s new and improved future.

VII. Your Contact Person (on the outside) and Power of Attorney spouse, a parent, a best friend, or a lawyer just in case things don’t go right,

  • the attorney could have confirmed that the court’s intake orders arrived before you do, it’s not fun to arrive, only to be put into solitary because the court’s orders have not.
  • In normal circumstances, the family or contact person should expect a phone call within 24 hours of the day the person surrenders.
  • Once the person is in the general population, he/she can ask someone for help. Another person can ask their family member to call and let them know that all is OK.

VIII. Educate those close to you regarding the BOP policies, as each one “has a specific procedure” to be followed.

  • Send and receive letters through the regular postal service is found ⇨ You’re A & O Handbook
  • Use of their modified telephone system takes time to get used to
  • Understand their modified email system,
  • Coordinate visits with people – so everyone doesn’t show up on the same day.
  • You may want to type out a sheet of paper that includes the following information for all the people on a contact list:
    • Name
    • Mailing Address
    • Phone Number
    • Email address
    • A day or two before surrendering, the person should print out the page and send it in the regular mail to himself, at the prison’s address. The person will also want to bring the paper with him when he surrenders.
  • Prior to surrendering to prison, the person should help all people on the contact list understand the rules of the system.
    • Although rules vary from time to time, administrators will limit access to each of the communication channels— visits, limits may apply.
  • Money can be sent via

IX. If you have a business that is running while you are in prison, you have to tell those you will communicate with that: YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DO THIS, OR GIVE ANY ADVICE OR INSTRUCTIONS TO ANYONE EITHER THROUGH:

  • You can say: I Am Not Allowed to run any business or give any kind of advice from Prison, but, if I were home, possibly, this is something that I would consider doing,
    • which would be,_______________________,
      1. “but as I am in Prison – I Am Not Allowed To Run A Business – So it’s Up to Them”
    • Before you surrender, they need to understand that this is how the conversation will go.

X. Understand Medical Preparations – The impact of an incomplete PSR?

  • Care Omitted or Delayed can be Care Denied
  • Properly planned, understanding the BOP Medical Policy – it is possible (but not guaranteed) to have an expensive orthopedic surgery (for example) that,
    • Normally may have been difficult to get such as a Knee Replacement – considered Medically Necessary but Not Urgent.
    • Before surrendering, a doctor wrote a letter memorializing the necessity of knee-replacement surgery. With planning, he was designated to an FMC.

XI.Self-Surrender, Preparation

  • If a person needs reading glasses, bring two pairs with prescriptions in your PSR.
  • Staff may allow a religious necklace or wedding ring not worth more than $100.
  • No checks, cell phones, or credit cards – this seems obvious, but here it is.

XII. Financial Considerations

  • Banks and brokerage houses have been known to “close accounts”, making them move accounts for a fraud-crimes, within 30 days.
    • Open accounts at multiple institutions.
    • By opening several accounts, YOU HAVE A CUSHION. If one institution closes an account, you can transfer resources to another existing account – as long as you have someone with Power of Attorney.
    • Providing Power of Attorney to someone you trust.
    • you can spend 100s – 1000’s/ month, I spent $325 per month.
    • But if you have a Financial Responsibility Plan (Restitution), you,
      • Will have to allocate funds for that.
      • Should you have Restitution or a financial penalty, at your first meeting with your Case Manager, offer to make ‘reasonable’ payments. Refusing with adversely affect your FSA Programming and attempts at early release.
      • Keeping lots of funds in your commissary account is not recommended, especially if you have financial penalties – as The DOJ wants to take 75%. It is not law yet – But It Is On Their WISH LIST.

XIII. Questions to consider when writing your Narrative, Allocution, or Reentry/Release Plan

  • Your STAKEHOLDERS will all want to know, what your plan is;
    • Not re-offend.
    • Not come back to their courtroom
    • …what other steps could you take.
  • Being incarcerated, you understand that there are programs that address criminogenic needs, and you plan to take them seriously.
  • You know that you must prove yourself to your family, yourself, and the court by never returning.
  • How would you respond to each of these questions (where applicable)
    1. Where would I get resources to start my life?
    2. How would the world change, while I served a sentence?
    3. How much money would I need to settle in society after I got out?
    4. How would the prison system influence the way I communicated?
    5. What would prospective employers think when I returned to society?
    6. What questions can you start asking now to engineer your release plan?
    7. In what ways would serving multiple decades in prison complicate my future?
    8. What complications would a probation officer put on me when I got out?
    9. What could I do to advance my levels of liberty, at the soonest possible time?
    10. What circumstances forced me to contemplate the many challenges I would face ahead?
    11. How can I use what I have learned, to bring value to others, both inside and once I am released?
    12. The sooner a person begins thinking about a release plan, the sooner that person will craft a pathway to restoring confidence.
Dr. M Blatstein

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