How to Ask for an Inmate Transfer

How to Ask for an Inmate Transfer

Sometimes a TDCJ inmate needs to move from one facility to a different facility.

TDCJ prison bus for moving inmates between facilities

This is called an “inmate transfer”. There are many reasons to transfer an inmate:

  • Change in custody level
  • Educational opportunities
  • Medical needs
  • Hardship
  • Program or rehabilitation access

Most transfers happen based solely on the decisions made by TDCJ, happen automatically, and without the inmate’s approval. There in no set time which an offender must remain at a facility before they can be transferred and there are cases where the prisoner is moved 3 or more time within a month. There is really no effective way to appeal these transfers.

Hardship Transfers

An inmate or inmate’s family can request a transfer for “hardship” which is what it is called when a prisoner is transferred so far away it works an undue hardship on the family to visit.

An inmate can be requested to be move closer to an immediate family member if the immediate family member has a medical condition that makes it impossible to travel a long way. The rules for a hardship transfer request are:

  • A family member has a medical condition that makes it impossible for him or her to travel long distances. Inability to drive is not enough.
  • The family member must get a doctor’s note that explicitly says they have an “inability to travel long distances due to a medical condition.” The family member must be an immediate family member: parent, sibling, spouse, child, grandparent, step-family, or foster family. Immediate family does not include cousins or distant relatives.
  • The inmate is currently in a permanent unit at least 200 miles away from the family member.
    The inmate hasn’t had any disciplinary reports in the past twelve months.
  • The inmate’s custody level is G1, G2, or G3.
  • The family member is not the victim of the inmate’s offense.
  • If the inmate is in jail for a violent offense, the inmate cannot be transferred to the county where the victim lives

Family members can request a hardship transfer by sending a letter with the inmate’s name and TDCJ number along with a doctor’s note on letterhead to:

Assistant Director for Classification and Records
Attn: Hardship Transfer
P.O. Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342-0099

If the request is approved, the inmate will be told and the transfer is scheduled. If the request is denied, the family member will get a letter with the reason it was denied. If the family member has new information, he or she can contact the State Classification Committee (SCC) at the address above and ask them to reconsider. Family members can call (936) 437-6271 for help with hardship transfers.

It can take three to six months after the transfer is approved for the inmate to move to the requested facility.

About the Author

Lawyer X
Lawyer X is the pen name of a former attorney who now spends all of his time writing and consulting. While in practice he was involved in both criminal and civil trials across the United States, including picking or helping to pick juries in hundreds of civil and criminal cases. In addition to his work as a trial lawyer, Lawyer X wrote articles, lectured at continuing legal education seminars, and was active in the legal community in many ways. He maintains anonymity now so that he can provide knowledge from inside and express honest opinions and viewpoints that other members of the legal community would just as soon weren't shared.