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U.S. Marshals Service

District of Oregon

Prisoner Visits to Deathbed or Private Viewing

A. GENERAL

  1. Upon receipt of a federal court order, the United States Marshal (USM) may produce a prisoner for a deathbed visit to a member of  the immediate family, or to attend a private viewing of a deceased member of the immediate family.  An immediate family member is defined as the father, mother, husband, wife, child, brother, or sister of the prisoner.
  2. The USM may expand the definition of immediate family when it involves stepparents, aunts, uncles, or other individuals who performed a parental role or who resided with the prisoner in a family type relationship.  The prisoner or his or her representative must clearly establish this relationship to the satisfaction of the USM.
  3. U.S. Marshals will not allow the attendance of a federal prisoner in USMS custody, or support the production of prisoners in other agencies' custody, at funeral observances (religious or civil) for a deceased member of the prisoner's immediate family.  The behavior of the prisoner, his or her family, and friends are likely to be governed by the emotional impact of such observances and the risk of escape or assaultive behavior is increased.  The burden on districts to properly secure such an environment is beyond the capability of most districts and the costs to the prisoner would be prohibitive.
  4. U.S. Marshals will not produce BOP (sentenced or committed) or state prisoners for deathbed visits or private viewings.

B. COURT ORDER COMPLIANCE CRITERIA:  Before the USM complies with a court order for deathbed visits or private viewings, the following criteria must be met to the satisfaction of the USM:

  1. The individual is a federal prisoner in USMS custody pending court action or sentence, or under custody pursuant to a writ.
  2. The prisoner has no pending writs of removal, detainers, or other actions which would impede the judicial process.
  3. The request is valid and can be verified by the USM.
  4. The dying or deceased person is within the definition of immediate family.
  5. The prisoner has no record of past escapes, escape attempts, or history of violent behavior.  A security check with the local police department and FBI will be made to determine if any family member or associate is an outstanding fugitive from justice, or if such persons would pose a threat to the prisoner or to deputies.
  6. The prisoner is willing to comply with all terms and conditions of the visit that may be imposed by the USM to ensure the custody and safety of the transporting deputies and the general public.
  7. The USM has enough available deputies to escort a prisoner to a deathbed visit or private viewing.
  8. The U.S. attorney assigned to prosecute the prisoner does not object.
  9. The judge assigned to the case does not object.
  10. The prisoner, his or her family, or other associate prepays the anticipated costs for staff, travel and per diem required to escort a prisoner to a deathbed visit or private viewing.  The prisoner must agree in writing to pay any additional costs not anticipated but incurred by the USMS while escorting him or her.

C. PROCEDURES

  1. The USM will strictly limit attendance at the deathbed visit or private viewing to the prisoner, the transporting deputies, the funeral director and/or medical personnel.  The prisoner's attorney, family or friends will not be allowed to attend.
  2. The prisoner will be property restrained consistent with current procedures at all times.
  3. The deathbed visit or private viewing will not exceed two hours.  The transporting deputies may terminate the visit at any time if conditions indicate a security problem that threatens the custody of the prisoner, the safety of the public or deputies.
  4. Neither the prisoner, his or her family, attorney or any person acting on the prisoner's behalf will receive advance notice concerning the date or time of the deathbed visit or private viewing.
  5. A minimum of two deputies will be used when producing prisoners for deathbed visits or private viewings.  The USM will augment the detail with additional deputies as necessary to ensure adequate security.

D. COURT ORDERS

  1. PRISONERS IN USMS CUSTODY:  If a petition is made to the court to allow a prisoner to make a deathbed visit or private viewing, the USM will ask the court, through the U.S. attorney, for a hearing.  At the hearing, the USM's position on the request will be presented.  Thee possibilities of bail reduction, personal recognizance, or temporary release from custody should be considered if appropriate.  The court should be made aware of agency policy concerning deathbed visits and private viewings.  If the court directs the USM to escort a prisoner to a deathbed visit or private viewing, the USM, through the U.S. attorney, will request that the order be vacated.  If the order is not vacated, the USM through the U.S. attorney, will ask that the specific security procedures outlined in this section be incorporated into the order.  If the order is contrary to proper security or safety practices, the USM will notify the Assistant Director, PSD, as well as the Office of General Council for further guidance.

E. REIMBURSEMENT FOR USMS COSTS

  1. Calculation of Costs:  All costs directly related to these special types of productions are to be collected in advance of the trip from the prisoner or his or her sponsor in the form of a certified check.  Allowable costs include salaries, per diem, and transportation for the deputies assigned and any other expenses anticipated for the prisoner (except cost of detention in a contract jail).
 
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