By George Hook
Where a prisoner “does time” may be critical to fulfilling educational aspirations, as distinguished from satisfying his or her educational needs. That is because aspiration is the province of the individual, whereas need is the province of the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”), based on statute and regulation. All BOP institutions are supposed to have the basics–General Educational Development (“GED”), English as a Second Language (“ESL”)–because these are mandated for all prisoners in need of them based on federal statute and BOP regulations which are promulgated pursuant to those statutory mandates, as well as the less well defined Adult Continuing Education (“ACE”), library services, and parenting programs based on BOP regulation; but not the Full Educational Program (“FEP”), consisting of educational and occupational programs, which, even where mandated, are variable as to content with each institution.
To which prison a prisoner goes is determined initially by the BOP; but the prisoner has some limited ability to influence that determination. To which prison a prisoner goes thereafter is determined by request of the prisoner. This provides more opportunity for the prisoner to influence the transfer destination, if not exactly dictate it.