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U.S. Marshals Service

Southern District of Iowa

Prisoner Visits to Deathbed or Private Viewing



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 prisoner, the 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.


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). is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice