The reality of heading into prison can be overwhelming. The rigorous set of rules inmates are expected to follow are a rightful cause for concern given the consequences of disciplinary infractions. Namely, potential missteps could inadvertently lengthen your sentence. In this post, we will provide guidance on these rules and how to steer clear of trouble.
Violating a prison rule, known as a disciplinary infraction, carries serious consequences, including reductions of “good time,” meaning you miss out on a shorter prison stay. Thankfully, most prisons clearly outline these rules. Learning about these restrictions before your sentence starts decreases the likelihood of infractions that could prolong your time inside.
What Exactly Is a Disciplinary Infraction?
A disciplinary infraction is a formal documentation of a violation of a facility rule. In the language of prison, infractions are often called “shots,” referring to a write-up you receive for a violation. Shots carry serious consequences, including reductions of “good time,” meaning you miss out on a shorter prison stay. Thankfully, most prisons clearly outline these rules. Learning about these restrictions before your sentence starts decreases the likelihood of infractions that could prolong your time inside.
According to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), anyone employed by the Bureau, Federal Prison Industries (FPI) staff, or Public Health Service officers within facilities can write an incident report. This means that correctional officers aren’t the only ones who can issue an infraction; any staff member at the facility can.
Receiving a shot triggers a series of disciplinary actions. These can range from minor to severe and may include:
- Being assigned additional work duties
- Temporary loss of privileges such as phone use, visitation rights, or access to the commissary
- Being ordered to pay fines or restitution
- Loss of Good Conduct Time
- Assignment to a disciplinary ward or solitary confinement
The specific consequences you face will depend on the severity of the infraction.
Common Reasons for Infractions in Prison
The term “infraction” refers to violations of the rules outlined by the BOP that can lead to disciplinary action. These infractions are divided into four categories, from 400 to 100, with 400 being the least severe and 100 the most severe. The BOP provides examples for each category:
400 series: Infractions of “low” severity include using obscene or abusive language, feigning illness, or engaging in unauthorized physical contact. Penalties typically include loss of privileges or additional work duty.
300 series: “Moderate” severity infractions encompass gambling, failing to stand for count, lying to staff, refusing to work, participating in an unauthorized gathering, or running a business within the facility. Penalties can include reduced good conduct time, removal from group activities, change of housing, confinement to quarters, in addition to loss of privileges.
200 series: Infractions of “high” severity involve actions such as fighting, stealing, destroying property, making threats, or trying to bribe staff. Punishments can include reduced good conduct time, delayed probation, and up to six months in disciplinary segregation, in addition to previous penalties.
100 series: The most severe infractions include actions like murder, rioting, arson, and refusal to take drug tests. The consequences can be denial of parole, up to a year in disciplinary confinement, loss of good conduct credit, and further criminal charges.
Minimizing Infractions to Maximize Good Conduct Time Credits
Many rules regarding infractions are common sense and avoiding them should be fairly straightforward. For example, it’s clear that setting the facility on fire will land you in significant trouble.
However, some rules may not be as obvious. Seemingly minor infractions such as “failing to stand count” or playing poker could reduce your good conduct credit, extending your sentence.
The most effective way to avoid infractions is to understand the facility’s rules before your sentence begins. Knowing in advance what the rules are can help you avoid mistakes that will cost you good conduct time.
To best learn these rules, consult an experienced prison consultant, like Tara Lenich. Your consultant will explain the BOP rules to you, emphasizing ones that might not be readily apparent. They can also help you mentally prepare for the unique culture of your facility, providing insights into what may or may not be permitted.
Avoid letting preventable mistakes keep you in prison longer than necessary. Contact Tara Lenich at Liberty Advisors today. You can prepare for your sentence and learn how to maximize good conduct time, allowing you to return to your life sooner rather than later.