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Federal Supervised Release

Your First Days On Federal Supervised Release

After the prison walls are left behind, after the (hopefully) 6+ months spent in a halfway house are finished, the feeling of freedom can be incredible. However, that feeling is usually short-lived with the first visit to the United States Probation Office.

Although now free of all the rules associated with the Bureau of Prisons, now an entirely new set of regulations must be followed. These are drawn from the Judgment Order 1“Judgment in a Criminal Case” is what this document is usually titled as, but this may vary from district to district published after sentencing.

Conditions of Supervised Release

To begin with, a former inmate on federal supervised release will have a set of standard conditions of release. These include rules that apply to all probationers such as monthly reports, financial disclosures, travel restrictions, firearm prohibitions, and other issues of a general nature. Some of these conditions are “mandatory” and are required by law, others are part of the standing orders of the district of sentencing.

A second set of rules will follow this one, and is specifically designed for each defendant. Drug testing is used for cases including addiction and substance abuse, home inspection and warrantless searches are imposed in cases where re-offense risk is high, and other treatment requirements will all be a part of this “special” set of conditions.

These are not static and can change as supervised release progresses in time. A change in circumstance or a change in probation officers may bring new conditions with it. On the other hand, unnecessary or boilerplate restrictions can be removed (with good reason) using a standard motion to the court.

Read our in-depth post about mandatory, standard, and special conditions here.

Avoid making the mistake of believing that the rules, and the Probation Officer, at the beginning of supervision will to stay that way for the full duration of supervised release.

Supervision on a Daily Basis

In every day life, the supervising officer makes little impact on an individual on federal supervised release. Policy normally dictates that an officer sets eyes on their ex-offenders once a month for the first year, and then less as the intensity levels of supervision relax.

Post-release treatment will most likely have a much larger impact on daily life. Treatment for drug offenders can be very different, from in-patient facilities to mandated AA/NA types of meetings. If fines, restitution, or special assessments have not been paid, the PO will be very interested and ‘involved’ in your case until those are paid off.

** Important Note: If you plan on applying for early release from federal supervised release, community service and any money owed to the government should be completed and paid before a judge will consider the request **

Expect the first few months of freedom to be much more active months with a supervising officer than what will be normal after six months. After three to four months, without any incidents, violations or trouble, you will drop off their radar and see/hear very little from United States Probation.


1 “Judgment in a Criminal Case” is what this document is usually titled as, but this may vary from district to district

3 thoughts on “Federal Supervised Release”

  1. What do you do if you are financial unable to pay government restitution and your probation officer is harrassing you?

    1. While on supervised release, there is a specific formula that the USPO office uses to determine what they believe you should be able to pay each month on restitution. If you’ve lost a job, or had some other circumstance come up that hinders your ability to pay the monthly established rate for restitution, the paperwork should be redone.

      Working with your PO is the first place to start, before your options become limited to litigation.

  2. Pingback: Federal Supervised Release - Conditions of Supervision - Pcr Consultants

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