View Full Version : what is a 'detainer'

08-04-2002, 04:25 PM
my friend left a message with a friend today who called me and left me this message: he has not left the transitional facility he is being held at because there is a 'detainer' on him. he did not say if he knew what this was or what it might mean. he also said he had been issued a new state id number, which also surprises me. anyone have any ideas on this, and what it might mean?

08-04-2002, 04:39 PM
The detainer just means another jurisdiction has a hold on him. My husband was paroled out of Alabama to Mississippi in 1996. When the new charges were filed last year and he was arrested he was still on parole, Alabama placed a detainer on him. This way bond was denied and once the charges were dropped here he was still sent to a prison in Alabama to await a hearing before the parole board. It's basically a statement/document stating "Regardless of how you dispose of the new charges, we want him when you're finished." Once in the system - at least in Alabama - it can affect custody levels. If an inmate has a detainer on them, they don't qualify for minimum security custody or work release programs. Once my husband was transferred to Alabama, the detainer was removed and he was classified in minimum-out custody.

08-04-2002, 04:47 PM

08-04-2002, 04:53 PM
i guess i'm still confused on this one, but i'll have to wait until things come to light. why would they issue him a new State id #?

08-04-2002, 05:49 PM
that just mean once he is release it let's them know someone else wants him before he is out of state custody. In other words he has a pending issue or case.

08-04-2002, 07:25 PM
but that is so weird since he hasn't even left transitional hold over. they are not sending him on to a state facility because of the detainer. he hasn't even gone on to actual prison yet, so how is this detainer keeping him in hold over. why would that affect his status there? and how do you find out what the detainer is for?

08-04-2002, 08:10 PM
Thanks Ken - I've had a crash course in the legal system these past eight months!

Was your friend on probation or parole? A lot of times you can find out from the PO. Does he have charges pending somewhere else? I am sure he knows - my husband was given copies of his warrant and the detainer when he was arrested.

08-04-2002, 08:38 PM
The detainer could be from a parole, or probation hold, it could be from a city, or county in the state, it could be a traffic ticket. It could be anything. He should know. I new every time if I was wanted be someone else. He got it now because whoever wants him, found him, it will effect his custody status, no minimum security, work furlough, community relase, etc., till he gets this straightened out. He can talk to his counslor & find out at least who wants him if not why. I've seen guys get these mostly for child support, or traffic tickets. Let us know what happens with this because depending on what it is I can give him advise on the best way to handle this.--------Ken

I have no idea why they would give him a different number. He may be held up in his transfer because they are waiting for either a bed to open up in a facility he can go to, or to see if they are going to send him back to whoever wants him so he can get this cleared up, but this usually doesn't happen.

08-04-2002, 08:53 PM
thank you ken and all. no he doesn't have any previos convictions, parole or probation. the message i got was 2nd hand, from his grandmother. i asked if he knew what it was about but she said he didn't. perhaps since tomorrow is a monday he will find out then. perhaps it is as minor as a traffic violation. i know he received violation notices from dmv, and our town that he couldn't respond to because he has been in jail and there in hold-over. i really do hope it is something simple, because we've been holding out hope for minimum security when he moves on. do you think that if i call doc they would tell me? it is difficult since our communications are practically non existent. i write him all the time, but the line is blocked and he only receives envelopes 2 or 3 times a month. if i explained that we have no communication would they share that info with me? probably not huh?

08-05-2002, 05:50 AM

I doubt it, but make them tell you no. Try, you have nothing to lose.They usually don't release info about inmates, & if they do it's usually to family members. At least thats what its like out here. If it is traffic, he can write the court, plead guilty & because of his situation, he can't pay, so ask them to give him credit for time served. The court will then send a release from the detainer, or withdraw the detainer. It has to be worded just right so let me know, & i'll let you know what to tell him to say. -----Ken

08-06-2002, 04:06 AM
Let me contribute a little. I guess that this is not the case of Tiamotzz, but another very common detainer is that of the INS when the inmate is a "deportable alien". The detainer is set up by the INS as soon as the process begins. It prevents release of the prisoner to the street because of the pending deportation. When the BOP or DOC releases him, he is transferred in custody of the INS to a temporary institution like Khrome in Florida, where the inmate spends two weeks more, if nothing goes wrong, and then is deported to his country of origin.

In order to shorten this period and possibly obtain immediate deportation, the prisoner may request a waiver (not a waiver of deportation, but a waiver of WAITS) some months in advance of his release date by applying to the Institutional Removal Program which can be found at:

Hope this could be useful to somebody.
Best luck for Tiamotzz - Andrés

08-06-2002, 04:21 AM
And one more comment: a detainer from the INS acts as an important restriction to the conditions of incarceration. My son Mariano was destined by the Judge to a minimum security CAMP instead of a prison, but the BOP put him in a Low security FCI because it is supposed that a detainer from the INS is sufficient reason to consider the prisoner more prone to escapes. That's why he is not in a camp despite the Judge's decision.

Other consequences of being an alien are: NO half-way house, NO furloughs, NO job in UNICOR, NO military-like camp, and NO addiction recovery program (which my son doesn't need, fortunately, but many foreign prisoners need, and would result in up to one year reduction if they were US citizens)
Un abrazo - Andrés

08-06-2002, 11:08 AM
yes doc emailed me and told me that ins may put a detainer on someone, although like you said it is not so in my friends case. i spoke to a prison advocate here in oregon who told me that he may not be able to move on and get out of intake and start serving his prison sentence until he takes care of this unfinished business (just like you all have said!) i hope he is getting the right advice on how to deal with it there. yesterday i got my local server to take off all 5 blocks on my line. (these were the blocks they told me were NOT there before,) and i should be able to receive collect calls within 72 hours. but of course my friend doesn't know that so i have to mail him a letter to tell him to try. plus the prison rights advocate says that all prison collect calls here go through gateway technology so i am going to call them, on her advice and tell them i will accept collect calls from prison. she also gave me a number to call that will tell who has the hold on him even if they wont tell me what it is for, so i'm going to get off and try all that.