Defendant and Prisoner Custody and Detention
The Marshals Service assumes custody of individuals arrested by all federal agencies and is responsible
for the housing and transportation of prisoners from the time they are brought into federal custody until
they are either acquitted or incarcerated.Each day, the Marshals Service houses
approximately 52,000 detainees in federal, state, local and private
jails throughout the nation.
In order to house these pre-sentenced prisoners, the Marshals Service contracts with approximately
1,800 state and local governments to rent jail space. Eighty percent of the prisoners in Marshals
Service custody are detained in state, local and private facilities.
Individuals who are arrested or detained for violation of federal statutes must be brought before a
magistrate or judge for an initial hearing. After the hearing, prisoners may be released or remanded into
the custody of the respective U.S. Marshal to stand trial. If convicted at the actual trial, it is the agency's
responsibility to deliver the prisoner to an institution to serve the imposed sentence.
In locations where detention space is scarce, the Marshals Service
provides select state and local governments with Cooperative Agreement
Program (CAP) funds to improve local jail facilities and to expand jail
capacities. In return, the agency receives guaranteed space for its
federal prisoners. The Marshals Service
has awarded $279 million to counties and municipalities under CAP agreements - resulting in the
provision of more than 12,000 guaranteed spaces for federal prisoners.
The responsibility for the detention of prisoners is challenging in its diversity and complexity. Deputy
marshals must resolve difficult issues such as arranging for the hospitalization and care of prisoners with
terminal illnesses or contagious diseases, and deciding whether the Marshals Service will grant the transfer of prisoners to state
authorities pursuant to state writs.
It is the responsibility of the USMS to provide for the custody,
handling, and detention of juvenile delinquents in accordance with the Federal Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, 18
A juvenile is a person who is less than l8 years old for the
purpose of proceedings and disposition under 18
USC 5031. In the case of an act of juvenile delinquency, a person who is under
2l is considered a juvenile. USMS juvenile prisoners will be treated as such unless, upon
a motion by the attorney general, the court orders the juvenile to be treated as an adult.
In such cases the juvenile is transferred for adult prosecution (18
USC 5032). Any prisoner committed under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention Act will be treated as a juvenile regardless of age.