Designation Decisions

The Bureau’s classification and designation functions have been centralized at the Designation and Sentence Computation Center (DSCC), located at the Grand Prairie Office Complex.

Upon sentencing in Federal District Court, the Bureau of Prisons has the sole responsibility in determining where an offender will be designated for service of his/her sentence in accordance with Program Statement 5100.08, Inmate Security Designation and Custody Classification Manual. You should be aware that your sentencing Judge, the probation officer nor your attorney have any input in where you are designated. The Court can make a recommendation, however, the final decision is left solely to the Bureau of Prisons.

Prior to a designation occurring, the DSCC must receive all sentencing material regarding the offender for consideration. These documents are processed and received from the sentencing Court, U.S. Probation Office, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The Bureau attempts to designate inmates to facilities commensurate with their security and program needs within a 500-mile radius of their release residence. If an inmate is placed at an institution that is more than 500 miles from their release residence, generally, it is due to specific security, programming, or population concerns. When an inmate is referred for a re-designation transfer, these same criteria are applied in making a decision for transfer to a new facility.

Inmates are designated/re-designated to institutions based on:

  • the level of security and staff supervision the inmate requires,
  • the level of security and staff supervision the institution provides,
  • the medical classification care level of the inmate and the care level of the institution,
  • the inmate’s program needs (e.g., substance abuse treatment, educational/vocational training, individual and/or group counseling, medical/mental health treatment, sex offender), and
  • various administrative factors (e.g., institution bed space capacity; the inmate’s release residence; judicial recommendations; separation needs; and security measures needed to ensure protection of victims, witnesses, and the general public).

Although general information regarding the designation or transfer process may be provided, specific information about a particular inmate is not public information and may not be released via the telephone or internet. This information may only be obtained by submitting a written request with an original authorization form signed by the inmate. Due to security requirements, certain information, such as an inmate’s pending designation site and/or transfer date, will not be released to anyone even if an original authorization form is provided.

Additionally, any request for transfer must originate with an inmate’s institution Unit Team at his or her current facility. The DSCC evaluates referrals submitted by institution staff and makes decisions based on the information provided by the institution. Inmates are encouraged to work closely with members of their institution Unit Team to determine if transfer to a facility closer to their release residence may be possible.

An inmate could be moved farther from home if they engage in misconduct during their incarceration.