Once the judge imposes your sentence a couple of different things may happen.

If you were sentenced to a term of imprisonment and you were detained prior to your sentencing, you will be taken back to the same county jail you were held at prior to your sentencing hearing.

If you were out of custody prior to sentencing, you may be taken into the custody of the U.S. Marshals in the courtroom or you may be given a self-surrender date. A self-surrender date is a date set by the court for you to voluntarily surrender yourself at the prison. You should prepare as if you will be taken into custody immediately.

After the hearing, the judge will sign a document called the Judgment, which will make its way through the federal court system and will be sent to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The Judgment records all of the parts of the sentence the judge gave, including things like the amount of time to serve, whether your sentence is concurrent or consecutive with any other cases or counts, any financial part of your sentence such as a fine or restitution, and the conditions you will have to comply with when you are released, called “conditions of supervised release.”

After the Bureau of Prisons receives the Judgment, they will review your case, any criminal history, gang affiliation, medical issues, and any recommendations by the judge. The Bureau of Prisons will then decide where you should serve your time. It may take a month or two, or even more, before you are finally transported to the federal prison or if you are self-surrender, given a prison to report to. You’ll hear this referred to as being “designated.” Please note that once you are sentenced and are back at the county jail, the Bureau of Prisons controls when you leave and your attorney will not be able to influence when they move you to your designated prison.

The Bureau of Prisons is required to designate you to a facility as close as possible to your primary residence, and to the extent possible, within 500 driving miles of that residence. If you are self-surrender, you are responsible for transportation to the prison you are designated to. Your attorney may have asked the Judge to designate you to a certain prison. It is important to note that recommendation by the Judge is just a recommendation. The Bureau of Prisons has discretion in making these decisions and placement at any particular facility is a final decision made by the Bureau of Prisons.