In our final post in regards to preparing your release preparation folder, the largest portion of your folder will be your medical records. Granted, you may not need to know every little thing in your file, but it’s good to have it all just in case. One thing I do is every year, I send a cop-out to the medical records department at my prison and ask for my records from the previous year. I keep track of all the dates, so I’ll know when one ends and the other begins. The reason for this is you can get up to 200 pages at no cost. After that, there are additional fees and most people will have more than 200 pages.
If however, you want the entire file at once, you are entitled to that right. While I don’t have the exact costs in front of me, the copies are usually $0.10 per page plus a fee for every 15 minutes of search time it takes to prepare the records. For the most part, you can get your entire medical file for less than $50 probably.
But, if you have already been released and would like to request these, it’s a slightly different process. You must file a Freedom of Information/Privacy Act request to the BOP’s Central Office. You must clearly detail what you are requesting and for what time period. For example, the letter may simply state: This is a request for all my medical, dental, and psychology records held by the Bureau of Prisons for the time beginning December 10, 2009 to Present.
You must also provide a Certificate of Identification verifying your identity. This must include your full name, date of birth, BOP register number, place of birth and your signature. If you wish to release the records to a third party, such as a primary care provider on the outside, you must specify the person’s name and address and agree to release the records. A request is only valid for 90 days and anything after that must be resubmitted.
If you request the records while incarcerated, this can take anywhere from about a week to several months to get them all. If you request them on the outside, the wait time is much longer and the fees still apply as mentioned earlier. So again, the easiest way is to request either a year at a time or 200 pages at a time to bypass any fees.
The final portion of your release prep folder is for various miscellaneous information. In mine, I have included all my certificates I have received over the years, a copy of my visitation list (to keep track of phone numbers and addresses), and so forth. This area is just something that is really for whatever else you want to include that doesn’t really fit in anywhere else.
Putting together your release prep folder may take a lot of time (possibly a year or more). So I suggest you start on it as soon as possible and constantly update it as you progress closer to your release date.
In closing, for those of you who have not heard by now, Hugh Horowitz, who was the Acting Director of the Bureau of Prisons since mid-2018 has been demoted. In his place as the new Acting Director is Kathleen Hawk Sawyer. Ms. Sawyer previously served as BOP director in the 90s and has been brought back in by the Attorney General to help alleviate some of the problems the BOP has faced in the last few years.
While the death of Jeffrey Epstein has brought to light staff shortages and augmentation, this time of year seems to be the worst time of all as many staff members are on vacation and using up their leave before the end of the fiscal year in September. Due to this, staff shortages seem to be rampant. Hopefully, the BOP will take their own advice and fix this problem instead of making it worse.
Medical Records and Miscellaneous