Remanded custody status refers to the federal criminal justice system in which defendants are either permitted to be release pending adjudication of their charges or remanded to custody in the jail system. This decision is typically left up to the U.S. magistrate judge over the case and is based on the defendant’s likely threat to the community, as well as if the defendant is considered a flight risk. Those who are considered of low risk are typically allowed to stay in their own homes while fighting their case, awaiting an actual sentence, or upon notice of need to turn themselves in after sentencing. Allowing someone to turn themselves in after sentencing, on a certain date at a particular time, is called self-surrender. When remanded the person is not allowed to leave the facility, though they may be transferred elsewhere, but a person who self-surrenders will have to show up at the appointed time and start serving their sentence.
Those who are deemed a community or flight risk will not be given the opportunity for self-surrender. They will simply be held in a county jail or possibly a detention center, depending on the area, during all aspects of the trial. These include pre-trial and the sentencing phases. After sentencing, if facing incarceration, U.S. marshals will transport them to the prison to start serving time. If you are allowed to self-surrender, then you will have time to prepare for the surrender date.
If someone is arrested then they may wonder who really decides whether they are a flight risk and will be held or whether self-surrender at the appointed time is an option. In most criminal cases it is the magistrate judge assigned to the case that will make this decision. While there is a presumption that release on one’s own recognizance or through bail will occur, it is not always the case. The judge will hold a bond hearing, often within 24 hours, in which the US attorney and the defense council can present their sides. If bond is denied, the defense can appeal the decision, but even this is not a definite. Prior to the bond hearing it is likely and normal for pretrial services to speak with you and family members to write a report that either opposes or recommends a self-surrender status. During the time before a bond is set or denied, inmate calling is typically limited, but allowed.
After the decision of where custody will be spent is decided, you will either return home or be returned to the jail pending the outcome of your cases. If you are released on bond and do not return to court, you will pay the full bond and potentially gain further charges. Different judges, situations, and defendants will result in different outcomes and conditions on release if that is permitted. Some people may be released to their homes, families, or even a halfway house. This address will be kept on file. If you are worried about not following pretrial release conditions, it may be best to choose to stay in jail and have the time count toward your sentence to avoid further charges. If you do choose pretrial release, take advantage of it and potentially reduce your future sentence by getting treatment related to your crime. Go into drug treatment, sex addiction therapy, or whatever is needed as a way to make a good impression on the judge. If you are remanded you can also take advantage of any classes or groups offered. Most importantly, stay out of trouble and if on self-release, show up to all court appearances and turn yourself in on time.
For information on how to contact someone who has been remanded or how to help someone already in prison, click here.