Jones' Presence in the Community

A furlough in prison jargon is a term referring to an inmate's un-escorted travel outside the confines of the prison. The Bureau of Prisons allows inmate furloughs for various reasons. For example, an inmate who meets the requirements of the policy guidelines may travel from one institution to another for transfer or into the community for medical treatment.

Once an inmate is within 24 months of his/her release date he/she can request a "social furlough" to establish or reestablish family or community ties, to appear in court, for release training, or for educational, recreational, civic, or crisis purposes. In this type of request, a Furlough Questionnaire Form is sent to the United States Probation Office in the community where the inmate's case was adjudicated.

I requested a social furlough on November 15, 2018, to attend my daughter's wedding on February 2, 2019, naively expecting a prompt response. On January 18, 2019, I was advised that my furlough was denied. BOP policy allows for an administrative appeal, but the denial inconveniently came way too late for that. No surprise there.

In the denial, the BOP acknowledged that I met its requirements, but the furlough was denied due to reservations of the US Probation Office in Waco. That office believed "Jones' presence in the community would attract undue public attention, and diminish the serious nature of the offense." This was perplexing, as one of the stated purposes of a social furlough is to "establish or reestablish community ties." That's rather difficult without having a presence in the community.

While life goes on, I don't mind saying this one hurt. If that was the intention of the US Probation Office in Waco, it was a smashing success. In response, I had written another 500 words expressing how ridiculous the decision was. It was some of my best work--sarcastic, condescending, biting, totally true, and funny. Sometimes I crack myself up.

Then I stumbled upon this in the Buddhist meditation service. I hate it when that happens.

So I've decided to add the US Probation office to my prayer list. I'm going to pray for them everyday while asking God to help me forgive them. Just for the record, it hasn't happened yet, not even close. But it will.