View Full Version : I am a level 21

Az Fed
08-26-2002, 03:09 PM
Well I am in the soup. I am a level 21 for getting drunk one night and doing some very stupid. I wasnt even thinking. I just cant beleive how this all happend. I am hopeing for a downward departure but it is looking pretty grim at this point. My PSR is tommarow. I have a good attorney I think but what he is telling me to do just doesnt sound smart. I signed a plea agreement and in that agreement the prosecutor recomends the lowend of the sentencing guidelines. Which is 37 months. If my crime carries a mandatory prison sentence what does that mean? do I have to serve the entire sentence? is there a possibility of parole? Or any chance of probation? Do they ever do work furlogh programs?

I am trying to hold up but this thing is starting to get to me. I am petrified to go to prison.
I dont really kinow what questions to ask I am just kinda posting them as I think of them.

Thanks for a having a site like this.

Az Fed
08-26-2002, 03:41 PM
Will I go to a federal camp? I read somewhere that above a level 18 you go to max? i have no priors and I was released after my arrest OR. I plead guilty to manufacture of a destructive device. Sorry if my posts seem kinda short I am really scared and having a hard time concentrating. This is very stressful.:(

08-26-2002, 03:52 PM
It sure is a stressful time you are in right now.
Hang in here - There is so many there to help you - someone will soon come in and is able to answer some of your question.

Which state are you from?

Keep the spirit up!!!


Az Fed
08-26-2002, 04:00 PM
I'm in Arizona. Thanks so much for your support! I have turned all this over to God. Thats where all my faith and hope lie. I know that what ever happens will happen because God planned it. I pray and plead that I do not go in but that is something that is out of my hands now. Thanks again for your words.

08-26-2002, 04:03 PM
Are you on your own? Any family to support you? I sure hope you do!!!

Az Fed
08-26-2002, 04:35 PM
My family and friends are supporting me. I have been useing them for comfort throughout this whole mess. I feel very blessed to have them in my life. This thing has shown me with out a doubt just how much my friends and family care about me. Many of them are writing letters to be included in the Pre-Sentence Report. Many of them have brought tears to my eyes. I was evicted from my apartment because the arrest took place there. And my parents immediatly let me come home to live with them. They are helping me with loans and legal fees also.

08-26-2002, 05:38 PM
Az Fed,
I am sorry to hear about your situation.. I know how you are feeling since I have been there myself not to long ago.
I can probably give you a fairly accurate prediction of how much time you will spend on the inside, what level security, etc, if you can give me more details.

What exactly was your charge? Did you build a pipe bomb or something like that, and if so, did you detonate it, or just get caught with it?

What is your criminal history level? What prior charges do you have? Have you been on probation or anything before?

Once you give me these details, I will get back to you in this forum/thread and tell you what I can.

Hang in there bro,

Az Fed
08-26-2002, 05:48 PM
It was a can of carberator cleaner that had a flare taped to it. It was thrown under a car but never went off. It was never even intended to be under a car but thats where it ended up. I have never been in any kind of trouble before. I dont even have any speeding tickets. I never ever wanted to hurt anyone (and nno one was hurt) I just wanted to cause some mischief and thought it would just be like a fire cracker. Little did I know.

Any advice you may have would be greatly appreciated.


08-26-2002, 06:45 PM
Az Fed, I see you just turned 22...and you have no prior convictions of anykind...not as a juvenile either? There is a case similiar to your right now, but this young guy has prior's at least an arm's length... Did you ask your attorney if they have any alternative programs...for instance, it might be a long shot, but they have alternative rehabilitations (AR's) on the East Coast and I was just curious if they have these types of programs there?
I'm sure when Fed-X gets back to your questions, he'll give you a good guide to follow...

Good luck!


08-26-2002, 07:25 PM
The feds don't often look at alternative programs.. They're pretty cut n dried with their structured sentencing guidelines.
AZ Fed, what exactly are you being charged with and have they given you any indication on what they are seeking?
Since you have no criminal record/history, that is a BIG plus.. You probably will be sentenced at the bottom of the guidelines because of this.
I need to know how many points your charge carries. I can look this up when you tell me exactly what the indictment says.
As for where you are going, it will almost definitely be a camp.
As far as I know, they don't have work release programs in them but you may be able to work in a transportation detail, etc.
You will also be elligable (and most likely get) half-way house for 6 months off the time you will be sentenced to.
At the 1/2 way house you will work out in the community and get home visits. Party of that 6 months you will be placed on home confinement where you will live at your house, work and spend the rest of the time there when not at work and scheduled passes.
Let me know about that charge.

Az Fed
08-26-2002, 07:58 PM
I am being charged with manufacture of a destructive device not registared to me.
The max sentence is 10 years or 250,000 dollars.

I am a level 21 in the federal sentenceing guidlines which is 37-46 months. thats after a 3 point downward departure for taking responsiblity and not going to trial.

I have never been in trouble before not even as a juvenile.

Aparently my judge will typically give downward departures but I have no Idea how much of one.

Before my plea agreement I also had a possesion of a destructive device charge but the plea agreement removed that. Other wise I would have moved to the second tier in the guildlines and gotten 46-54 I believe. So I think signing the plea agreement was good.

They had also added on a charge of addiction to mariuana while owning a firearm. When they searched my apartment they found a pipe I had from High School. There was no pot and I told them I didnt smoke but they didnt care.

"Anything you say will be missquoted then used against you in a court of law"

I thought I would add that ATF arrested me. :(

freedom anjel
08-27-2002, 12:38 AM
Hello Az Fed! I am sure Fed X will be back with some more specifics for you. As for me, I can only support you in your giving this up to God. Of course there is a reason and it looks like you are seeing it very clearly in your fear of going to prison. He is teaching you a lesson now, so that you do not have to learn it later in life with a much harsher sentence. Just remember that every step is ordered and when we understand His love for us and accept Him as our savior, we have peace in all things. I will pray for you, for God's mercy and that the courts will give you the lightest sentencing possible. He is an awesome God who performs miracles at every turn.

By the way, did you notice how much calmer your posts were once you put up the "I've turned it all over to God" posting?? I noticed it immediately as I read through your thread. You see, He's already carrying you!!

God bless!!


08-27-2002, 11:50 AM

08-27-2002, 05:31 PM
Hi All,

I'm new to the board but thought this was as good a time as any to speak up.

Az, above all, keep the faith. I spent more than 2 years with the feds (they're called the BOP, for Bureau of Prisons) and some time with the state of Indiana on related white collar crimes.

Anyhow, the federal system, while a pain, far outshines most states in the ways inmates are classified, treated, and housed.

Strangely enough, my bunkie (cellmate) for over a year was charged with the exact same thing you were. I think he was 24 when he first entered the BOP and spent about 40 months there.

He was with me in a prison classified as "low". Low security level generally means a prison with fences but no guard towers, dormitory housing (you live in a room that has 50 or more two-man cubicles containing two bunks, a desk and lockers.) I think he went to a low primarily because his "device" (a can of starter fluid and a auto flare) went off and destroyed a car. No one was hurt, but damage was done.

Fed-X was probably correct that you'll go to a camp... I never went to one but heard the stories. They have no fences, a lot more freedoms, and less guards. The guys that I talked to preffered camps near other prisons because camps by themselves typically don't have the libraries, recreation or prison job options that a "satellite" camp (one located next to a larger prison) do.

Keep in mind that the judge has absolutely no say in where you go... he can only reccomend and that is usually ignored.

As of the time I got out, about three years ago, federal prisoners typically serve 85 percent of their sentenced time. The so-called "good time" policies that many states have are more strict in the federal system.

The low I was at had a drug re-hab program that (while all the guys I talked to said was a pain in the ass) earned you a year off your sentence. The program, at that time, took a year to complete. This might be something to ask your attorney about if it's still offered.

I may have rambled some but let me know if I can be of more help or support.

Take Care....

08-27-2002, 06:26 PM
Hi AzFed,

You've received great advice/information so far. Welcome to PTO. You can learn a lot here. FedEx and Jake have been down a very similar road and their insights are great. My husband is serving time in a Federal Prison. Everything that he's shared with me has been mentioned above--so it's fairly standard at that level.

Here's a couple more things I thought I would mention:

The drug program is still offered (at least where my husband is). There is the 500 hour one (9 months + to complete) and the 40 hour one. The 500 hour one can take time off your sentance--I think Jake is correct--a year.

You will only be allowed 300 minutes a month for the phone--so you may want to budget wisely.

It takes a bit to get processed. It was almost 2 weeks before I heard from my husband and 3 weeks until a visit.

There is a point system for visits--so you will want to find out what that is and plan with your family

You should bring your list of visitors and their information written down with you--helpful when you fill out the forms.

You may want to bring a money order made payable to yourself to get your commissary account set up at the beginning.

You should ask your attorney to request "self surrender" It helps with the classification

Realize that all mail/phone calls are monitored--so privacy doesn't really exist

Respect yourself and others--don't get involved in things that don't concern you.

Keep busy--work, read, exercise, sign up for classes. My husband just started guitar and art classes. He works 40 hours and will be teaching the GED classes. He also works out daily.

The food is not so great--so if you can--you may want to have some money for commissary each month. My husband survives on peanut butter & jelly.

Stay strong--I hope you have strong family support. I know that this keeps my husband going. I write to him daily, visit twice a week and we speak for 10 minutes a night.

Good luck and take care,


08-28-2002, 05:34 PM
Hi Again AZ and others,

Just read Molly's post and wanted to say it's right on all counts.

I particularly know the part about having a list of family and friends when you "go in" because I didn't and couldn't remember some of the details right off. As a result, I had to write my wife and ask for a list. That took over a week.

The processing that is referred to is also very broad. When I self-surrendered, I went to the "hole" (segregation) for almost two weeks because the prison had no beds in the regular "housing units" (dorms or units). This will not be the case if you go to a camp, but you will not be able to use a telephone for up to two weeks. First, you must have money in your prison account to use the ITS (Inmate telephone service) ... they didn't allow collect calls then but I've heard from friends still there that some institutions do now.

Second, you have to fill out request forms for each person you want on a telephone "list". This is a listing of the numbers you are allowed to call using the BOP's computerized system. These forms are sent to the people you request so that they can authorize your calls to them. You will not be allowed to call the telephone numbers listed on your request forms until they are returned to the prison or camp. All this takes some time.

Taking a money order with you is also a good idea. Commissary is a way of survival in any prison, but especially with the BOP. The food is not that good, and you'll be forced to buy personal items (shampoo, combs and toothpaste) at high prices. I have heard that some camps will allow families to send limited food items and clothing to you. This does not happen in institutions with a higher security rating or at camps near larger prisons.

I lived well on $50.00 a month from my family. The limit you could spend in the commissary three years ago was $200.00 per month.

Another note... take a cheap watch with you. The Feds will take anything that looks expensive and send it home (or worse) and you'll end up buying a cheap Timex while paying three times what they cost at Wal-Mart.

As the thread develops I'll try and help more, or feel free to contact me directly.

Take Care and Keep the Faith... you'll do fine.


08-28-2002, 07:56 PM
There is certainly a lot of good information on this thread. I hope others going down this road find it.

Good point about the processing Jake--spending time in the hole. That was the most shocking to me--never imagined having to wait for a bed. From what I understand--everyone spends some time in segregation at the beginning.

My husband spent 11 days in the hole. This is what he did daily: He was able to borrow a book--so he read. He did push-ups, sit ups and jogged in place (this was done to keep him active and also to make him tired to be able to sleep). He asked for some paper and a pencil--with them he made a deck of cards to pass the time--he played solitaire as well as other card games. In addition to that he focused on all the memories we created--this kept him positive and focused. He felt this helped him to cope. He also felt that by letting it go--and not worrying about why he was there and when he would get out---it was much less stressful--in other words--he knew he had no control.

Commissary is key--he thrives on it! We cannot send him anything (he's at a low level)

He was not allowed to keep any kind of watch--so that may not be an option--but you can as Jake suggests, buy a cheap watch--if you lose it--no great loss.

Many things will be offered to you--remember--nothing is free. Just as in life--be selective about who you share information with. You will have choices to make--be wise in your decisions.

If I think of any thing else--I will let you know.

Stay strong and take care of you,


08-28-2002, 08:00 PM
I too spent a day or two in the hole prior to making it to general population. The only good thing is that they should put you in your own cell rather than with people that are in the SHU for other reasons because you have not been classified. Unfortunately, you probably won't have any headphones and other things unless they allow you to make commissary, which they may do if you are in there a long enough period of time and have money on your books - another reason to enter with $$.

09-05-2002, 09:02 AM
hope things go well for you, AZ. you have certainly gained a lot of insight here from jake, molly, and fed-x. thanks for the info, guys! i learned a lot by reading this as well. AZ. welcome to PTO!

Az Fed
09-05-2002, 11:48 AM
yesterday I went to a Drug and Alcohol rehab class at TASC.

All that they talked about in there was what people had done. They asked me and all I said was what I was charged with because that charge doesnt have much to do with why I was there. I chose to go there because I wanted some help and tips/advice on quiting drinking. Even when I said that the guy just went "uhhuh" and then asked me again what I did. I told him that I would not talk about the details of my charge because it really had nothing to do with drug rehab. I did mention that they had found a pipe in my apartment but told him that I was not charged with any drug stuff because I had signed a plea agreement.

Then he said did you make a pipe bomb?
I said no and that I would not talk about that.
Then just went around the room asking everyone what they thought I did.

I don't think I will be attending any more of those classes.

Anybody think that was normal?

09-05-2002, 12:21 PM
AZ: "normal" and "appropriate" are not always synonymous! i don't see how your crime has any impact on your addiction one way or the other, other than the fact that you say you were pretty blasted when you committed it. i don't think it's anyone else's business to know the intricacies of what was involved. so, in my opinion, it's not "normal" or "appropriate" to pressure you and it's downright weird that this person would ask others what they thought of the situation. recovery is about being non-judgmental. sorry you had to experience that.....

10-08-2002, 05:13 PM
Your are being sentenced under the federal sentencing guidelines. If your sentence is mandatory, my guess is you are pleading out to Title 21 USC 841, 846, or one in the same title. My best advise to you is look at the sentencing guideline book. You didn't tell me your criminal history category, which is very important for me to tell you your sentence.
You will do 85% of the sentence. All that junk you saw on TV about prisons is mostly about State prisons, not federal. So don't worry about coming out and wanting to date the same sex.
I can spend hours talking to you about this subject matter for this is our business. If you require straight detailed information, contact me at email removed by moderator per PTO Policy and Rules If you wish, someone will take the time and call you personally to set you straight.
Thank you for your time on the above matter.