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U.S. Marshals Service

Southern District of Alabama

Prisoner Property   


Allowable Property

Prisoners in USMS custody may retain the following types of personal property while detained in a contract detention facility or a federal institution:

1.  Legal papers or materials.  These materials should be relevant to the current or draft court proceedings. Personal letters, pictures, magazines or other such material are NOT allowed and will not be taken with the prisoner when moved.

2.  Religious medals.  One medal may be retained only if it is of a size and weight which poses no threat as a potential weapon or escape device. Chains are NOT allowed. 

3.  Eye glasses or contact lenses, with case.

4.  Prescribed medicine and health items. ( Will be provided by the Bureau of Prisons Medical Staff). Health items does NOT include such items as shaving cream, razors, toothpaste or personal toiletries.  

5.  Up to fifty dollars in U.S. currency.  (Placed in commissary account by family member / friends after defendant is processed into  the federal/state and county facility). Funds on a prisoners account in excess of $50.00 will be converted to a check by the discharging jail facility.

6.  Wedding band.  Rings with stones are not authorized. No rings other than a plain wedding band are permitted.

Court Clothing

1.  One set of court clothing will be allowed. 

Court clothes will be brought to the United States Marshal Office, 4th floor of the United States Courthouse, Room 413, at least one hour prior to scheduled trial proceedings. No civilian clothes are authorized for any other court procedures. No metal tie clips or any other jewelry will be permitted. Any contraband or unallowable property secreted in the clothing may result in the prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the introduction of the items.

2.  Change of clothing is permitted on an as needed basis for trials lasting more than two days.

Family members or assigned attorney is responsible to pickup all clothes after the trial. Excess Prisoner Property will be disposed of in accordance with  Marshal Service Policy. 

Unallowable Property

At the time of processing, any property that is unallowable will be taken away from the prisoner. Unallowed property taken from a prisoner that is illegal or could be dangerous will be documented and reported to the U.S. Marshal (USM). Unallowable prisoner property should be given to arresting agents for disposal.

Excess Prisoner Personal Property

Prisoner Property Disposal:   If unallowable prisoner property cannot be given to the arresting agent or the agent refuses to take the property, any of the following methods will be used to dispose of it:

a.  Mail by certified mail or transfer, with a written receipt to next of kin, the prisoner’s attorney, or another individual designated by the prisoner. 

b.  Mail by certified mail or transfer the property to a storage company to be stored  at the prisoner’s expense. Arrangements for storage of property will be made by the prisoner or his or her attorney directly with a storage company.

c.  Obtain written authorization from the prisoner to donate the property to a charitable organization of the USM's choice or destroy the property (throw it away). If the prisoner does not authorize the donation of property, it will be considered abandoned after 30 days and will be destroyed or donated by the USM. 

d.  Prisoners will complete mailing labels for property that they desire to have mailed at the time of processing. The property should be placed in suitable mailing containers, provided by the USMS, and sealed by the prisoner.

Persons remanded to U.S. Marshal Service custody are not allowed to retain excess personal property beyond that which has been described to you during processing.  You have been given an opportunity to have all excess property transferred to your attorney or a relative, shipped to a home address, etc.  Any excess property which is not disposed of within 30 days will be considered abandoned and will be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by the U.S. Marshals Service. is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice