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Title 28 Part 543

Title 28 → Chapter V → Subchapter C → Part 543

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 28 Part 543

e-CFR data is current as of June 21, 2018

Title 28Chapter VSubchapter C → Part 543


Title 28: Judicial Administration


PART 543—LEGAL MATTERS


Contents

Subpart C—Federal Tort Claims Act

§543.30   Purpose and scope.
§543.31   Filing a claim.
§543.32   Processing the claim.

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 18 U.S.C. 3621, 3622, 3624, 4001, 4042, 4081, 4082 (Repealed in part as to offenses committed on or after November 1, 1987), 5006-5024 (Repealed October 12, 1984 as to Offenses committed after that date), 5039; 28 U.S.C. 509, 510, 1346(b), 2671-80; 28 CFR 0.95-0.99, 0.172, 14.1-11.

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Subpart A [Reserved]

Subpart B—Inmate Legal Activities

Source: 44 FR 38263, June 29, 1979, unless otherwise noted.

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§543.10   Purpose and scope.

The Bureau of Prisons affords an inmate reasonable access to legal materials and counsel, and reasonable opportunity to prepare legal documents. The Warden shall establish an inmate law library, and procedures for access to legal reference materials and to legal counsel, and for preparation of legal documents.

[46 FR 59509, Dec. 4, 1981]

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§543.11   Legal research and preparation of legal documents.

(a) The Warden shall make materials in the inmate law library available whenever practical, including evening and weekend hours. The Warden shall allow an inmate a reasonable amount of time, ordinarily during the inmate's leisure time (that is, when the inmate is not participating in a scheduled program or work assignment), to do legal research and to prepare legal documents. Where practical, the Warden shall allow preparation of documents in living quarters during an inmate's leisure time.

(b) The Warden shall periodically ensure that materials in each inmate law library are kept intact and that lost or damaged materials are replaced.

(c) Staff shall advise an inmate of rules and local procedures governing use of the inmate law library. Unauthorized possession of library materials by an inmate constitutes a prohibited act, generally warranting disciplinary action (see part 541 of this chapter).

(d) An inmate's legal materials include but are not limited to the inmate's pleadings and documents (such as a presentence report) that have been filed in court or with another judicial or administrative body, drafts of pleadings to be submitted by the inmate to a court or with other judicial or administrative body which contain the inmate's name and/or case caption prominently displayed on the first page, documents pertaining to an inmate's administrative case, photocopies of legal reference materials, and legal reference materials which are not available in the institution main law library (or basic law library in a satellite camp).

(1) An inmate may solicit or purchase legal materials from outside the institution. The inmate may receive the legal materials in accordance with the provisions on incoming publications or correspondence (see 28 CFR part 540, subparts B and F) or through an authorized attorney visit from a retained attorney. The legal materials are subject to inspection and may be read or copied unless they are received through an authorized attorney visit from a retained attorney or are properly sent as special mail (for example, mail from a court or from an attorney), in which case they may be inspected for contraband or for the purpose of verifying that the mail qualifies as special mail.

(2) Staff may allow an inmate to possess those legal materials which are necessary for the inmate's own legal actions. Staff may also allow an inmate to possess the legal materials of another inmate subject to the limitations of paragraph (f)(2) of this section. The Warden may limit the amount of legal materials an inmate may accumulate for security or housekeeping reasons.

(e) An inmate is responsible for submitting his documents to court. Institution staff who are authorized to administer oaths shall be available to provide necessary witnessing of these documents, as requested by inmates and at times scheduled by staff.

(f)(1) Except as provided for in paragraph (f)(4) of this section, an inmate may assist another inmate in the same institution during his or her leisure time (as defined in paragraph (a) of this section) with legal research and the preparation of legal documents for submission to a court or other judicial body.

(2) Except as provided for in paragraph (f)(4) of this section, an inmate may possess another inmate's legal materials while assisting the other inmate in the institution's main law library and in another location if the Warden so designates.

(i) The assisting inmate may not remove another inmate's legal materials, including copies of the legal materials, from the law library or other designated location. An assisting inmate is permitted to make handwritten notes and to remove those notes from the library or other designated location if the notes do not contain a case caption or document title or the name(s) of any inmate(s). The assisting inmate may also develop and possess handwritten drafts of pleadings, so long as the draft pleadings do not contain a case caption or document title or the name(s) of any inmate(s). These notes and drafts are not considered to be the assisting inmate's legal property, and when the assisting inmate has these documents outside the law library or other designated location, they are subject to the property limitations in §553.11(a) of this chapter.

(ii) Although the inmate being assisted need not remain present in the law library or other designated location while the assistance is being rendered, that inmate is responsible for providing and retrieving his or her legal materials from the library or other designated location. Ordinarily, the inmate must provide and retrieve his or her legal materials during his or her leisure time. An inmate with an imminent court deadline may request a brief absence from a scheduled program or work assignment in order to provide or retrieve legal materials from an assisting inmate.

(3) The Warden may give special consideration to the legal needs of inmates in mental health seclusion status in federal medical centers or to inmates in controlled housing.

(4) The Warden at any institution may impose limitations on an inmate's assistance to another inmate in the interest of institution security, good order, or discipline.

(g) The institution staff shall, upon an inmate's request and at times scheduled by staff, duplicate legal documents if the inmate demonstrates that more than one copy must be submitted to court and that the duplication cannot be accomplished by use of carbon paper. The inmate shall bear the cost, and the duplication shall be done so as not to interfere with regular institution operations. Staff may waive the cost if the inmate is without funds or if the material to be duplicated is minimal, and the inmate's requests for duplication are not large or excessive.

(h) Unless clearly impractical, the Warden shall allow an inmate preparing legal documents to use a typewriter, or, if the inmate cannot type, to have another inmate type his documents. The Warden may allow the inmate to hire a public stenographer to type documents outside the institution, but the institution may not assume the expense of hiring the public stenographer. Staff shall advise the inmate of any delay in the typing of which they have received notice from the stenographer.

(i) The Warden shall give special time allowance for research and preparation of documents to an inmate who demonstrates a requirement to meet an imminent court deadline. Otherwise, each inmate shall continue his regular institutional activities without undue disruption by legal activities.

(j) With consideration of the needs of other inmates and the availability of staff and other resources, the Warden shall provide an inmate confined in disciplinary segregation or administrative detention a means of access to legal materials, along with an opportunity to prepare legal documents. The Warden shall allow an inmate in segregation or detention a reasonable amount of personal legal materials. In no case shall the amount of personal legal materials be such as to pose a fire, sanitation, security, or housekeeping hazard.

[44 FR 38263, June 29, 1979, as amended at 62 FR 4893, Jan. 31, 1997]

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§543.12   Retention of attorneys.

(a) The Warden shall allow an inmate to contact and retain attorneys. With the written consent of the inmate, staff may advise an attorney of the inmate's available funds. Staff may not interfere with selection and retention of attorneys if the inmate has attained majority and is mentally competent. If the inmate is a mental incompetent or a minor, the Warden shall refer to the inmate's guardian or to the appropriate court all matters concerning the retention and payment of attorneys.

(b) The Bureau of Prisons may not act as guarantor or collector of fees. As to correspondence with attorneys and telephone calls to attorneys, see part 540 of this chapter.

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§543.13   Visits by attorneys.

(a) The Warden shall, under the conditions of this section, permit visits by the retained, appointed, or prospective attorney of an inmate or by an attorney who wishes to interview an inmate as a witness.

(b) The Warden generally may not limit the frequency of attorney visits since the number of visits necessary is dependent upon the nature and urgency of the legal problems involved. The Warden shall set the time and place for visits, which ordinarily take place during regular visiting hours. Attorney visits shall take place in a private conference room, if available, or in a regular visiting room in an area and at a time designed to allow a degree of privacy. The Warden may make exceptions according to local conditions or for an emergency situation demonstrated by the inmate or visiting attorney.

(c) The attorney shall make an advance appointment for the visit through the Warden prior to each visit; however, the Warden shall make every effort to arrange for a visit when prior notification is not practical.

(d) The Warden may require an attorney to indicate where he is licensed as an attorney and how that fact may be verified. Prior to each appointment or visit, the Warden shall require each attorney to identify himself and to confirm that he wishes to visit an inmate who has requested his visit or whom he represents or whom he wishes to interview as a witness. The Warden may not ask the attorney to state the subject matter of the law suit or interview. If there is any question about the identity of the visitor or his qualification as an attorney in good standing, the Warden shall refer the matter to the Regional Counsel.

(e) Staff may not subject visits between an attorney and an inmate to auditory supervision. The Warden may permit tape recordings to be used by an attorney during the course of a visit only if the attorney states in writing in advance of the interview that the sole purpose of the recording is to facilitate the attorney-client or attorney-witness relationship.

(f) The Warden may, at any time, subject an attorney to a search of his person and belongings for the purpose of ascertaining if contraband is present, as a condition of visiting an inmate.

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§543.14   Limitation or denial of attorney visits and correspondence.

(a) An act by an attorney which violates Bureau regulations or institution guidelines and which threatens the security, good order, or discipline of the institution is grounds for limitation or denial by the Warden of the attorney's privileged visitation and correspondence rights. Acts by an attorney which may warrant such limitation or denial include, for example the following:

(1) A false statement as to the attorney's identity or qualifications;

(2) A plan, attempt, or act to introduce contraband into the institution;

(3) A conspiracy to commit, an attempt to commit, or the actual commission of an act of violence within an institution; and

(4) Encouraging an inmate to violate the law, Bureau of Prisons rules, or local implementing guidelines.

(b) Unless the breach of regulations is extreme or repeated, limitation rather than a denial of visitation or correspondence rights is proper, especially where the inmate is represented by the attorney and is confronted with a court deadline. For example, the Warden may subject an attorney to a search of his person and belongings or may permit the attorney only non-privileged correspondence. The Warden shall also consider referral of the matter to the state agency regulating the attorney's professional conduct.

(c) An act by an inmate in violation of Bureau regulations or institution guidelines warrants a limitation by the Warden of the inmate's correspondence or visiting rights with attorneys only if necessary to protect institution security, good order, or discipline. The Warden may not deny correspondence or visiting rights with attorneys generally.

(d) The attorney may appeal any limitation or denial by the Warden of attorney visits or correspondence rights to the Regional Director. The inmate affected may appeal through the Administrative Remedy Procedures.

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§543.15   Legal aid program.

(a) A legal aid program which is funded or approved by the Bureau is expected to provide a broad range of legal assistance to inmates. Staff shall allow these programs generally to operate with the same independence as privately retained attorneys. The Warden shall refer a request or decision to terminate or restrict a program, or individual participants in a program, to the Regional Counsel.

(b) In order to promote the inmate-program relationship, the Warden shall give those students or legal assistants working in legal aid programs the same status as attorneys with respect to visiting and correspondence except where specific exceptions are made in this section and in part 540 of this chapter.

(c) An attorney or law school professor shall supervise students and legal assistants participating in the program. The supervisor shall provide the Warden with a signed statement accepting professional responsibility for acts of each student or legal assistant affecting the institution. The Warden may require each student or legal assistant to complete and sign a personal history statement and a pledge to abide by Bureau regulations and institution guidelines. If necessary to maintain security or good order in the institution, the Warden may prohibit a student or legal assistant from visiting or corresponding with an inmate.

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§543.16   Other paralegals, clerks, and legal assistants.

(a) The Bureau of Prisons recognizes the use of assistants by attorneys to perform legal tasks and, with proper controls and exceptions enumerated in this section and in part 540 of this chapter, accords such assistants the same status as attorneys with respect to visiting and correspondence.

(b) The attorney who employs an assistant and who wishes the assistant to visit or correspond with an inmate on legal matters shall provide the Warden with a signed statement including:

(1) Certification of the assistant's ability to perform in this role and awareness of the responsibility of this position;

(2) A pledge to supervise the assistant's activities; and

(3) Acceptance of personal and professional responsibility for all acts of the assistant which may affect the institution, its inmates, and staff. The Warden may require each assistant to fill out and sign a personal history statement and a pledge to abide by Bureau regulations and institution guidelines. If necessary to maintain security or good order in the institution, the Warden may prohibit a legal assistant from visiting or corresponding with an inmate.

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Subpart C—Federal Tort Claims Act

Source: 65 FR 34364, May 26, 2000, unless otherwise noted.

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§543.30   Purpose and scope.

Pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, a claim for money damages for personal injury or death and/or damage to or loss of property must be filed against the United States by the injured party with the appropriate Federal agency for administrative action. General provisions for processing administrative claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act are contained in 28 CFR part 14. The provisions in this subpart describe the procedures to follow when filing an administrative tort claim with the Bureau of Prisons.

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§543.31   Filing a claim.

(a) Who may file a claim? You may file a claim if you are the injured person or the owner of the damaged or lost property. A person acting on your behalf as an agent, executor, administrator, parent, guardian, or other representative may file a claim for you if the person provides a written statement signed by you giving that person permission to act for you. A representative may also file a claim for wrongful death. If you hire a lawyer or authorize a representative to act on your behalf, the agency will correspond only with that representative, and will not continue to correspond with you.

(b) Where do I obtain a form for filing a claim? You may obtain a form from staff in the Central Office, Regional Offices, Bureau institutions, or staff training centers.

(c) Where do I file the claim? You may either mail or deliver the claim to the regional office in the region where the claim occurred. If the loss or injury occurred in a specific regional office or within the geographical boundaries of the region, you may either mail or deliver the claim to that regional office. If the loss or injury occurred in the Central Office, you may either mail or deliver the claim to the Office of General Counsel, Central Office. If the loss or injury occurred in one of the training centers, you may either mail or deliver the claim to the Associate General Counsel, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. 28 CFR part 503 contains information on locating Bureau of Prisons addresses.

[65 FR 34364, May 26, 2000, as amended at 70 FR 67091, Nov. 4, 2005]

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§543.32   Processing the claim.

(a) Will I receive an acknowledgment letter? Yes. If you have provided all necessary information to process your claim (such as time, date, and place where the incident occurred, and a specific sum of money you are requesting as damages), you will receive an acknowledgment letter indicating the filing date and a claim number. The filing date is the date your claim was first received by either the Department of Justice or an office of the Bureau of Prisons. You should refer to your claim number in all further correspondences with the agency. Additionally, you must inform the agency of any changes in your address. If you fail to provide all necessary information, your claim will be rejected and returned to you requesting supplemental information.

(b) Will I be notified if my claim is transferred? Yes. If your claim is improperly filed, you will be notified by the responsible office that your claim was transferred to another regional office, the Central Office, a training center, or another agency.

(c) Will an investigation be conducted? Yes. The regional office ordinarily refers the claim to the appropriate institution or office for investigation. You may also be required to provide additional information during the investigation. Your failure to respond within a reasonable time may result in the rejection or denial of the claim.

(d) Who will decide my administrative claim? The Regional Counsel or his or her designee reviews the investigation and the supporting evidence and renders a decision of all claims properly filed in the regional office and within regional settlement authority. The Regional Counsel has limited settlement authority (up to an amount established by the Director, Bureau of Prisons). After considering the merits of the claim, the Regional Counsel may deny or propose a settlement of the claim. The General Counsel will investigate and propose settlement for all claims properly filed in the Central Office in accordance with delegated settlement authority. If the proposed settlement exceeds the General Counsel's authority, the General Counsel will seek approval from the appropriate Department of Justice officers.

(e) Will my claim be reviewed by or referred to the Central Office? If the Regional Counsel recommends a proposed settlement in excess of the settlement authority, the claim will be forwarded, with a recommendation, to the Office of General Counsel, Central Office for their review.

(f) Will appreciation or depreciation be considered? Yes. Staff will consider appreciation or depreciation of lost or damaged property in settling a claim.

(g) If my claim is denied or I am dissatisfied with a settlement offer, what are my options? If your claim is denied or you are dissatisfied with a settlement offer, you may request, in writing, that the Bureau of Prisons reconsider your claim in the administrative stage. You should include additional evidence of injury or loss to support your request for reconsideration. If you are dissatisfied with the final agency action, you may file suit in an appropriate U.S. District Court as no further administrative action is available.

(h) What if I accept a settlement of my claim? If you accept a settlement, you give up your right to bring a lawsuit against the United States or against any employee of the government whose action or lack of action gave rise to your claim.

(i) How long will it take to get a response? Generally, you will receive a decision regarding your claim within six months of when you properly file the claim. If you have not received a letter either proposing a settlement or denying your claim within six months after the date your claim was filed, you may assume your claim is denied. You may proceed to file a lawsuit in the appropriate U.S. District Court.

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