While this program is deemed voluntary, prisoners can be reprimanded if they refuse to participate (including restricting commissary spending limits). It effectively acts as the BOP’s payment plan system.
While practices will differ based on the culture of the local federal prison, the basics are the same: Prisoners who owe money will be required to sign a contract with their unit team which outlines a set amount that must be paid either monthly or quarterly. While some prisons choose to allow inmates to simply pay $25 per month or quarter, others base such payment plans on the amount of money that the prisoner receives.
Payment plans based on total income are based on the prisoner’s last six months of Trust Fund deposits (from their prison work assignment and funds given to them by family and friends), minus $75 per month for telephone use and any IFRP contributions made during the six month period.
The calculation is:
[TOTAL TRUST FUND DEPOSITS] – $450 ($75 x 6) = [IFRP CONSIDERED FUNDS].
The funds the IFRP can consider aren’t necessarily the ones that will be taken, but the prisoner’s unit team will base payment plan revisions with the understanding that those funds should be considered.
After a prisoner pays off all court costs and any ordered restitution, they are deemed to be IFRP Complete and no longer have to make payments.
The federal courts charge $100 fee per each felony conviction and a $50 fee for each misdemeanor conviction. This information is available on the packet that will be issued to you during your first unit team program review.
Restitution has to be ordered by your sentencing judge, and usually only in cases where there is a definite victim (e.g., child porn production cases, fraud cases, etc.). If your sentencing judge didn’t order restitution, then you don’t have to pay any. You don’t have to pay for the cost of your federal incarceration.
If you don’t comply with the IFRP contract you will most likely go into IFRP Refusal status, which will result in a restricted commissary spending limit being imposed. You can refuse to sign an IFRP contract but you will be restricted in the amount of money you can spend at the institutional commissary.
If you feel your unit team has assigned an unreasonable monthly or quarterly payment amount you should first try speaking with your counselor. If this doesn’t work, then try speaking with your unit manager. If this still doesn’t work, then the associate warden over housing units. If all else fails, file an administrative remedy.
People often wonder if the program is “voluntary,” then how can prisoners be punished for not complying?As crazy as it may sound, it’s because you voluntarily sign the IFRP contract. (And yes, if you refuse to sign you will effectively be volunteering for a reduced spending limit.)
You can learn more about the Federal Bureau of Prison’s IFRP policies by reviewing Program Statement P5380.08, Inmate Financial Responsibility Program, on the TRULINCS Electronic Law Library computers.