The Reality of “Diesel Therapy” in the Federal Bureau of Prisons

The morning of April 18th, 2018, was the second worst day of my life, second only to the day my father passed away. That day, I drove my daughter to work and made a casual comment about dinner plans after my sentencing. Little did I know that after my sentencing, I would not be granted probation as promised by my attorney. Instead, I was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody, starting my journey in the Bureau of Prisons for six weeks.

I spent the first six weeks at the Philadelphia Federal Detention Center, where I was housed in a cell with another gentleman. After a few weeks, I was informed that I would be shipped to another location, but the destination was top secret, known only to the US Marshals. I was then transported to a prison bus, where I was shackled and undressed, and my legs and arms were shackled. I had no idea where I was going, but I was told it was part of a program called “diesel therapy”.

My journey continued with stops in Petersburg, Virginia, Atlanta, Georgia, and Tallahassee, Florida. Each stop was marked by uncertainty and fear, as I was transported from one facility to another, unsure of my next destination or how long I would be on the bus. I learned the importance of being prepared for the possibility of being remanded into custody and the harsh realities of diesel therapy, which is a transport method used to move inmates across the country.

Throughout my journey, I encountered various programs and initiatives designed to reduce recidivism and promote public safety. The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is committed to providing relevant and meaningful reentry programming to support inmates’ successful return to society. The First Step Act of 2018, for example, directed the BOP to enhance reentry efforts by developing a risk and needs assessment system and standardized Evidence-Based Recidivism Reduction (EBRR) Programs and Productive Activities (PAs).

My experience in the federal prison system has been a stark reminder of the importance of preparation, understanding the risks and needs of inmates, and the impact of programs like diesel therapy on their well-being. It is crucial for individuals facing sentencing to discuss their concerns with their attorneys and be aware of the potential consequences of remand into custody. The BOP’s efforts to improve reentry services and reduce recidivism are commendable, and it is essential to continue supporting these initiatives to ensure a safer and more productive society.

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