Prisoner Transport Guidelines
The U.S. Marshals’ Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System coordinates, schedules and secures the handling of prisoners in federal custody. A prisoner transport can be to detention facilities, courts and correctional institutions via a network of aircraft, buses, vans and cars.
There must be an inspection of the vehicle transporting, to make sure it is clear of all potential weapons. All prisoners will be searched before leaving the facility. In most circumstances a male will search a male inmate and a female will search a female before transport.
The prisoner will have restraints, the judge or courts will decide if handcuffs will be used. All prisoners are required to have a seatbelt on while in the transport vehicle. Adult and juvenile inmates will not be transported together unless they were involved in the same crime.
EMS will assist with transport if the prisoner is sick or in some cases handicap. Once the officer and prisoner arrive at the new facility, they will recheck for safety. Making sure all of their personal belongings are secure before entering the new facility. The officers will lastly transfer custody and the prisoner will be entered into the system at the new facility.
There are a lot of factors that go into prisoner transport. The distance to get to the new facility, court orders, safety, scheduling, and availability of transportation vehicles.
Another thing to take into consideration is the availability and schedules of officers to transport the inmate or inmates. For short distances a police vehicle is most commonly used. There is already a safety barrier in place and involves less scheduled organization. As the distance increases or the number of prisoners being transported a charter bus or prison transport bus will be used. With more space and more inmates, the need for additional guards are needed. Restraints will be used, decided by the judge. When the distance is too great for a bus or vehicle, transportation is via an airplane.
Prisoners are typically loaded before any other passengers, they are placed in the very last row of the plane and accompanied by a U.S. Marshal. They will be restrained, but for safety reasons, never attached to the seat itself in case of a crash landing. None of the arrangements for a transport are public information. This is for the prisoner and public safety. The main goal when transporting a prisoner is to keep everyone safe during the entire process.