Supervised Release

When someone is sentenced in federal court they receive two sentences.  The custody portion will be served in a federal correctional facility that can be anywhere in the country.  If they’re lucky it might be close enough for frequent visits from family and friends.  Some, however, are sent clear across the country to serve their time.  Their time in custody, that is.  The second portion of the sentence imposed is Supervised Release.


*This is not to be confused with Probation, another term entirely, even though those on Supervised Release report to a federal Probation Officer.  The simple difference is this: Probation is imposed INSTEAD of a prison sentence, while Supervised Release is served AFTER release from federal prison.


Supervised Release can vary from district to district, though many conditions are the same across the country.  There are Mandatory Conditions of Supervision, which the federal courts have dictated must be included in every federal district’s conditions; Standard Conditions of Supervision, which are decided by the federal judges in their district and imposed on every supervisee (often incorporating the Mandatory Conditions); and Special Conditions of Supervision, which are imposed by each judge at sentencing and can vary widely from case to case.


All of these conditions are spelled out at sentencing but only for the federal district where that sentencing takes place.  If a defendant is sentenced in a different district from where they live, or if they plan to live elsewhere when they are released from prison, these conditions do not apply.  To discover the Conditions of Supervision in other federal districts, visit our Restrictions for Felons by State page.