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Chapter 1, § 120: International Prisoner Transfer Program

Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol 7 Defender Services, Part B International Prisoner Transfer Proceedings, Chapter 1: Overview

§ 120 International Prisoner Transfer Program

(a) The International Prisoner Transfer Program began in 1977, when the United States negotiated the first in a series of treaties that permit the transfer of prisoners from the countries in which they have been convicted and incarcerated to their home countries. See: 18 U.S.C. §§ 4100-4115. More than 70 countries and nationalities are now parties to either bilateral or multilateral prisoner transfer treaties with the United States.

(b) Prisoner transfers under the various treaties are available to United States citizens incarcerated abroad as well as to foreign nationals incarcerated within the United States.

(c) Although most inmates who are transferred out of the United States under these treaties are federal prisoners, all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands have legislation authorizing them to participate in the International Prisoner Transfer Program.

(d) Prisoner transfer treaties are negotiated principally by the United States Department of State. However, the program itself is administered by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Criminal Division, International Prisoner Transfer Unit.

(e) For more information on the program and participating countries, see: DOJ Office of Enforcement Operations website.

Last substantive revision (Transmittal GR-17) January 20, 2010
Last revised (minor technical changes) November 9, 2021