Browse Questions

How can I contact the Bureau's FOIA Office? (top)

Write to:
Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Section
Office of General Counsel, Room 841
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20534

You can request FOIA information online (but this may not work with all computers).

How do I find the location of an inmate in Federal custody? (top)

You can search for a Federal inmate online using the Inmate Locator tool.

Where is the BOP’s FOIA Reading Room, when is it open, and how can I get into it? (top)

Where: Federal Bureau of Prisons
500 First Street, N.W. - Seventh Floor (BOP Library)
Washington, DC 20534
Telephone: 202-307-3029

When: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, EXCEPT on Federal holidays. Please call ahead for an appointment.

How: A picture I.D. is REQUIRED for entry.

What is the BOP’s Electronic Reading Room? (top)

The Electronic Reading Room is part of this website and contains frequently requested records, opinions, policies, staff manuals, and instructions to staff created by the BOP after November 1, 1996.

What other types of BOP information can people get without a FOIA request? (top)

Inmates can get their central or medical files at their institution.

The BOP’s Inmate Locator will give information on where an inmate is located.

For other information about the BOP, call (202) 307-3198.

How will my request get processed? (top)

The BOP puts your FOIA request on one of two tracks, depending on your circumstances.

TRACK ONE is for requests that ask for:

  • Quicker processing under FOIA (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(E))
  • Program Statements (policies)
  • BOP information
  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM) investigations information
  • Inmate central files or medical records (with proper authorization)

    TRACK TWO is generally for requests that need more time to process, such as:

  • Requests asking for contract information
  • Media requests
  • Requests asking for information on investigations by BOP’s Office of Internal Affairs

  • How can a former Federal inmate obtain a copy of his/her medical records from his/her incarceration? (top)

    Send a written request to:

    FOIA/PA Section
    Office of General Counsel, Room 841
    Federal Bureau of Prisons
    320 First Street, N.W.
    Washington, DC 20534

    The request must specifically describe the records being sought and provide identifying data, such as date of birth and register number, if known. Also, to ensure that private information is not released to anyone else, the requester must verify his/her identity either by a notarized original signature or by submitting an original signed Form DOJ-361, Certification of Identity.

    I am a college student seeking research information for a term paper. Will I have to pay for copies of the information I request? (top)

    Fees for processing FOIA/PA requests are authorized by Department of Justice regulations published at 28 Code of Federal Regulations Part 16. As a non-commercial requester, you will be charged only for search time that exceeds two hours and copies in excess of 100 pages. Duplication charges are $.10 per page.

    I have not received all the information I requested. If I am dissatisfied with the Bureau's determination to withhold some of this information, what can I do? (top)

    You can appeal the Bureau's decision by submitting your complaint within 60 days to:

    Office of Information and Privacy
    US Department of Justice
    1425 New York Avenue, N.W.
    Suite 11050
    Washington, DC 20530-0001

    In what format will I receive the response to my request? (top)

    You may request your information be provided as a hard copy or in electronic format. However, be advised that it is not always possible to convert requested information into electronic format.

    If I want information about a person, what documents must be submitted with my request? (top)

    If the information you seek is not available on the Inmate Locator, you must submit a request, along with a signed authorization from the person to whom the records pertain. That authorization must be an original document (not a copy), and must be notarized or signed under penalty of perjury. You may also use a DOJ-361 form.

    Is there a charge for processing FOIA requests? (top)

    You may be charged fees in relation to your request. By submitting a request, you are agreeing to pay up to $25.00. If the estimated amount of fees is over $25.00, you will be notified of the actual or estimated amount.