BOP Administrative Remedy Process Explainer

BOP Program Statement 1330.18

By: Lynn Espejo

This is my personal overview of the BOP’s Administrative Remedy Process. If you have followed my blog, you already know that I became quite familiar with the Administrative Remedy process during my 27 months stay in federal prison. If you, or someone you know, is either headed to federal prison, or currently serving a sentence, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with this policy.

BOP Program Statement 1330.18 Administrative Remedy Program BOP program statement administrative remedy states “1. PURPOSE AND SCOPE §542.10 a. Purpose. The purpose of the Administrative Remedy Program is to allow an inmate to seek formal review of an issue relating to any aspect of his/her own confinement. An inmate may not submit a Request or Appeal on behalf of another inmate.”

While at first glance the administrative process looks relatively easy, do not be fooled. Like everything else at the BOP, it is designed to be frustrating to inmates. It is a ridiculous process that sends inmates around in circles, until most inmates almost always, inevitably, throw up their hands in defeat and just give up. This is exactly what BOP staff wish for you to do. And the reason most issues at the BOP never seem to get fixed/resolved! Most inmates are so unfamiliar with BOP policy (which is one of the reason I encourage inmates to get to know policy) that many do not realize they must complete the entire Administrative Remedy process (from BP8-BP11) before they are allowed to go to the Courts for help with an issue.

Filing with the court before completing the entire administrative remedy process only results in further delays in resolution of an issue. Do your homework before you start the process and be prepared to clearly state your complaint on the form. You may only place one complaint per form. So, if you have multiple issues with the same staff member, you must fill out a form for each issue. This process can be very time consuming!

Being able to clearly state your issue, reference any BOP Program Statements (policy) that applies to your situation, and stating what you wish to happen to resolve the issue are key to a successful outcome! Be prepared to do this before you start filling out the form. Another thing to keep in mind is that you only have 20 days from the date of the issue to start the Administrative Remedy process.

BP8 (Cop Out)

The first step in the process is the form BP8. This is better known as a “Cop-Out’, an informal resolution-meaning it’s a way for the BOP to try to stop your filing of complaints/requests for resolution of issues prior to it being logged into the SENTRY system (the BOP’s system that keeps up with everything, including administrative remedy), or getting a copy placed in the staff member’s file that could hurt them from getting promotions within the BOP.

Form BP8 gives you roughly 4-5 lines to state your complaint so be prepared to be very brief so your form is not rejected. You are not allowed to attach any extra pages to this form (BOP staff rule). When an inmate files a BP8, it does not appear in the staff member’s file, nor does it go beyond your counselor’s desk. In other words, it never gets entered into SENTRY. In fact, the BP8 is not even an official part of the program statement for administrative remedy.

You may be asking yourself, why then should I start with a BP8? It is because the institution forces you to do so. You are not allowed to go directly to a BP9. Staff are supposed to respond to your BP8 within a few days, however, you will find that they continue to hold your form, hoping you get frustrated and give up, before they are forced to respond. If this ploy does not work, they just ignore your form and never answer 9 out of 10 times. After 20 days (even though this is stated nowhere in BOP policy) per staff, you are free to move on to the BP9, if you have not received an answer to your BP8, or are not satisfied with the answer you receive. If you are lucky, staff will answer your BP8 and you may even resolve the issue (this can happen in the matter of minor issues) but don’t count on it. As, previously stated, the BOP wants to make this process as frustrating for you as possible. Prepare yourself for this on the front end and be ready to be persistent. Make weekly visits to your counselor’s open house to inquire about the status of your BP8.

Remember the squeaky wheel gets the oil! Always keep a copy of anything you turn in to staff as chances are you will never receive the original back, and you will need a copy of what you have submitted to move up the process. I have seen BP8 shredded. Keep a copy. I can’t stress this enough.

BP9 – Warden

The second step in the process is the BP9. This form is an appeal of the BP8 and goes directly to the Warden (well at least in theory) at your facility. This form allows for one additional page to be attached and any exhibits that back up your claim as well. Again, make copies of everything for your records. I also suggest sending a copy home to family for safe keeping (see my previous blogs regarding why this is important). This form gives you slightly more room to write out your complaint but with the extra page that is allowed to be attached, you should be able to have plenty of room to give more information regarding your grievance. Be sure to state the issue, any policy it violates, and your desired resolution on the form. Be specific and try to leave out emotion.

These things are stressful but clear heads will prevail. The shorter you can make your statement, the better.

BOP staff do not like to read long explanations of the issues. If you are appealing a BP8 decision, be sure to state why you are appealing. You must attach a copy of the BP8 you are appealing to the BP9 (attach this even if you did not receive an answer to the BP8). This is very important so don’t forget to do so.

Again, any BOP policy you can quote that is in your favor, should be stated clearly and how this policy applies to your issue. Keep a copy of everything for yourself. You must turn in the entire form so make a copy of the completed form as well for your records. The Warden has 20 days to respond to your BP9 but may extend the time to respond by another 20 days. You may be starting to get the feel for how this process is a long on-going ordeal. Do not be discouraged. I have managed to win several Administrative Remedies once they got outside the institution walls. Be the squeaky wheel. Continue to go to your counselor’s open house, especially after the original 20 days is up, and ask him/her to check on the status of your BP9.

The BP9 is entered into the SENTRY system and you are supposed to by policy be given a print out that shows the receipt with the date received by the BOP (do not be surprised if this does not match your records as typically it shows 7 days later than when you turned it in to your counselor-as this is when the 20 day clock starts ticking). If there is an extension (and you can count on there being one) you are also supposed to be notified of this extension by another receipt showing the extension date and when the extension is due by the Warden. If you do not receive these receipts-ask your counselor or case manager to give you a copy.

BP10 – BOP Regional Office

The third step in the process is the BP10. This form goes to the Regional office and is an appeal of the BP9. This form looks exactly like the BP9 with the exception of color (4 ply carbon copies) and is filled out the same way except to note that you are appealing a BP9 decision or the time has lapsed for you to receive an answer to your BP9 and you are moving up the chain of command. Do not be surprised if time lapsed BP10s are returned to you requesting you get an answer to the BP9 before proceeding. YES, this happens! Region will send back your BP10 requesting that you get an answer even after all the time for extensions, etc. has passed on the BP9.

When submitting your BP10, be sure to attach copies of everything turned in to date including the BP8, BP9, any attachment pages and exhibits. You must attach 4 copies of each page or your form will be rejected. Again, keep copies of everything you send and I suggest mailing this certified mail to the Regional office. Region has 30 days to respond to your BP10, but can extend for an additional 30 days. You should receive a receipt for the BP10 when it is entered into the SENTRY system. If you do not get a receipt, go ask for it. You should get a receipt also when the Regional office extends for an additional 30 days (and they will).

BP11 – BOP Central Office . Washington, DC.

The final step in the process is the BP11. This form goes to the BOP Central office in Washington, D.C. The process is the same as the BP9 and BP10. The forms look the same only a different color. Be sure to attach four copies of all pages (BP8, BP9, BP10, attachments, and exhibits) and state why you are appealing the BP10 or moving up the chain of command after not receiving a timely response to the BP10. You should get a receipt when this form is entered into the SENTRY system, and again if the Central office extends (which they also will most likely do). The Central office has 30 days to answer and can extend for another 30 days. Again, be persistent in requesting copies of your receipts.

Once you get an answer to the BP11, or the time runs out for the BOP to respond, you are free to finally file a motion with the Court for relief. The process generally takes more than 6 months to get to the BP11 so be forewarned! Don’t get discouraged. The only way to resolve issues and make change within the BOP is to be a bulldog and be persistent! Regardless of how frustrating it becomes keep moving forward and always be the squeaky wheel! I have found this is the only way to hold the BOP accountable for their many misdeeds.

I suggest you read it to get familiar with how BOP Program Statements look. Inmates have access to these program statements in the law library or on the law library computer. The policy number has not changed, so an inmate can easily look up this statement by searching for 1330.18 using the printed books of program statements found in the prison law library or the electronic law library (some prisons have this) to read the current regulations. I’m more than happy to help as well, if you have any questions.

Until next time….please continue to speak up for prison reform! Let your Senators and Congress men/women know how frustrating the Administrative Remedy process is for inmates and that changes need to be made to make it easier for inmates to use.

Lynn Espejo is an accomplished author and blogger and she is a member of the Ministry’s White Collar Support Group™ that meets every Monday evening on Zoom. You can purchase Lynn’s book, Inside The Walls & Beyond: My journey through the federal criminal “in”justice System on Amazon.

We highly recommend Brent Cassity’s podcast, Nightmare Success, in which he interviews justice-impacted people from all walks of life. He is a White Collar Support Group member with a mission to be of service to our community. Please check it out on Spotify at or on your favorite podcast platform.