Table of



Chapter 8

Battlefield Confinement of United States Military Prisoners

In a mature TO, MP may operate FDFs and FCFs to hold US military prisoners and pretrial detainees in short-term pretrial or posttrial confinement. Posttrial confinement includes temporary custody of prisoners until they are evacuated to permanent facilities and custody of prisoners with short-term sentences as determined by the combatant commander. Leaders tasked with performing US military prisoner operations must be familiar with the doctrine in this chapter and Chapter 7 , the policies outlined in AR 190-47, the ACS, and the tasks described in STP 19-95C14-SM-TG.


8-1. There are two types of battlefield facilities—FDF and FCF. When the combatant commander makes the decision to retain prisoners in the TO, FDFs are set up in the CZ and an FCF is set up in the COMMZ. Prisoners are evacuated from one facility to another according to established guidelines and available facilities (see Figure 8-1 ).

Figure 8-1. TO Confinement Evacuation Flow

Figure 8-1. TO Confinement Evacuation Flow

8-2. The MP plan US military prisoner operations to meet the needs of the combatant commander. The commander may decide to establish facilities throughout the TO if he encounters any of the following:

8-3. The PM is a key player and assumes an important role by keeping the combatant commander informed throughout the planning process. The PM coordinates with the SJA, civil affairs (CA), the HN, the appropriate echelon coordinating staff, and the major subordinate commands before recommending that US military prisoner facilities be established. During the planning process, the PM must determine—


8-4. In the CZ, division and corps PMs are responsible for the location, setup, and operation of FDFs for as long as necessary. The MP use FDFs to detain soldiers until they can be tried, sentenced to confinement, and evacuated from the area. Soldiers awaiting trial remain in their units if possible. When the UCMJ requirements of Rules for Courts-Martial (RCM) 305 are met, soldiers are placed in pretrial confinement and retained by MP. Per RCM 305, no one can be ordered into pretrial confinement except for probable cause. Probable cause to order pretrial confinement exists when there is a reasonable belief that—

8-5. When operating an FDF, MP sign a receipt for each prisoner (DD Form 2708) and his property (DA Form 4137). Use existing structures for FDFs if possible. If tents are used, they should be as large as a GP medium tent. Plans for establishing an FDF should include the following list of equipment and supplies:


8-6. The MP establish an FCF in the COMMZ to detain soldiers placed in short-term custody during pretrial or posttrial or while in transit to another facility. An FCF can be a semipermanent or permanent facility, and it is more complex and elaborate than an FDF. A CS MP unit or an I/R MP unit can be tasked with operating an FCF. The respective unit commander uses the military decision-making process (MDMP) to determine tasks that are necessary to accomplish the mission. Some considerations are—


8-7. The PM coordinates with engineers, the SJA, the HN, and the coordinating staff before selecting an FCF site. He ensures that the FCF is located away from perimeter fences, public thoroughfares, gates, headquarters, troop areas, foliage, and wooded areas. The location depends on several factors, such as—


8-8. The construction of an FCF depends on the availability of existing structures, the work force, and materiel. Use preexisting facilities to the maximum extent possible. If they are unavailable, coordinate with engineers to construct a facility that meets security and safety requirements. If a CS MP unit is tasked to construct an FCF, request supplies and materiel through the established supply channels. An I/R MP unit requires engineer support to construct guard towers, fences, and perimeter roads and to repair unimproved roads.


8-9. The FCF setup corresponds with established standards as outlined in AR 190-47. The physical layout includes facilities for administration, housing, and training (if required) as well as recreation and work areas (if available). The facilities and areas are secure against escape. Figure 8-2 shows a sample FCF setup.

Figure 8-2.  Sample FCF Setup

Figure 8-2. Sample FCF Setup


8-10. Processing begins when the control of a prisoner is transferred from a non-MP unit to an MP unit or from an MP unit to another MP unit. Each time control is transferred, the receiving organization signs a receipt for each prisoner (DD Form 2708) and his property (DA Form 4137).

8-11. Prisoners begin their confinement by inprocessing into the facility. If a confinement detachment is available, it performs all tasks related to inprocessing prisoners. Otherwise, the MP unit commander performs inprocessing with organic assets. Part of the inprocessing procedure is to help prisoners integrate into the confinement environment. Process each newly confined prisoner according to the guidelines in Table 8-1.

Table 8-1. Processing a US Military Prisoner

Station Purpose Responsible Individuals* Actions
1 Search MP Escort prisoner and property.

Conduct same-gender strip search. Accomplish this before he enters the processing area unless conditions prohibit it.

Supervise his movement to the next station.

2 Property inventory MP Inventory personal property.

List items on DA Form 1132-R.

Place items in a container or on a tray.

Mark items with his name and SSN.

Secure items in a storage area.

Confiscate his money, and record it on DA Form 1124.

Supervise his movement to the next station.

3 Administrative processing Processing clerk and MP Initiate a CTF.

Complete individual prisoner forms (see Chapter 7 ).

Supervise his movement to the next station.

4 Photography and fingerprinting MP Fingerprint and identify him, and record the information on a fingerprint card.

Photograph him with instant film. Use a photographic name board (black background with white characters). List his SSN and name at the bottom center.

Attach the photograph to his CTF.

Supervise his movement to the next station.

5 Personal hygiene MP Allow him to shower, shave, and get a haircut.

Supervise his movement to the next station.

6 Medical evaluation Medical personnel and MP Examine him within 24 hours of arrival at the confinement facility.

Complete DD Form 503.

Supervise his movement to the next station.

7 Records review MP Review processed records for completeness.

Escort him back to processing stations as needed.

Prepare and maintain an accountability roster.

Supervise his movement to the next station.

8 Briefing MP Brief him on rules and regulations and visitation and correspondence rights.

Supervise his movement to the next station.

9 Movement MP Move him to a secure area.

*The number of people used to perform tasks depends on the number of prisoners and the time available.

8-12. Ensure that all newly assigned prisoners complete training, as soon as possible, that explains the—

8-13. Orient pretrial prisoners and officers on their status, rights, and privileges, including the following:


8-14. Prisoners are classified into two categories—pretrial and posttrial. Separate pretrial prisoners (males and females) from posttrial prisoners. Posttrial prisoners include those retained during short-term sentences and in-transit prisoners who are being evacuated to another facility.


8-15. Take two front and two profile photographs of each prisoner. Use a name board, if available, and place his last name, first name, and middle initial on the first line and his social security number (SSN) on the second line. Add a prisoner registration number on the third line if desired. (See AR 190-47 for fingerprint card requirements.)


8-16. Prisoners wear a BDU without rank insignia during incarceration. Return personal clothing and other articles to prisoners per AR 700-84 as determined by the facility commander. Issue clothing to prisoners, except officers, according to AR 700-84 and CTA 50-900. Maintain a DA Form 3078 on prisoners with less than 6 months active-duty service and prisoners who receive clothing on an issue-in-kind basis. Provide organizational clothing within the allowances prescribed in AR 710-2 and CTA 50-900. Launder and dry-clean clothing for prisoners (except officers on pay status) without charge per AR 210-130. Dispose of clothing and personal property according to AR 190-47.


8-17. Provide prisoners with wholesome, sufficient food that is prepared from the Army master menu, and supply them with a full complement of eating utensils. The facility commander can deny eating utensils for security or other reasons. Prisoners in close confinement and those who lost privileges associated with approved disciplinary action can be denied supplemental rations as described on the Army master menu. The facility commander can authorize alternate meal control procedures to prevent injury when a prisoner abuses food. The procedures require documentation in the facility blotter and concurrence of a medical officer, and they will not exceed 7 days.


8-18. Dining facilities can be organic to the unit operating the FCF, or they can be set up through the appropriate contracting procedure. The facility commander decides the best feeding method to sustain prisoners based on the available dining facilities and the logistical and HN support.


8-19. Medical personnel in support of the FCF provide medical, dental, and mental-health care or referral; limited counseling; and social services. Except in matters requiring protection of medical information, the facility commander provides medical observations and recommendations concerning correctional-treatment requirements. Medical officers, nurse clinicians, or PAs—


8-20. An Army Medical Department (AMEDD) representative, a PVNTMED NCO or officer, an environmental-science officer, a sanitary engineer, or a medical entomologist inspects the facility monthly. This inspection ensures that the operation meets PVNTMED standards. The inspector provides a copy of the inspection results to the facility commander. (See AR 190-47 for further guidance.)

8-21. Ensure that all prisoners bathe and follow basic personal-hygiene practices to prevent communicable diseases. Enforce high sanitation standards in facilities where prisoners share latrines and showers.


8-22. Public law and AR 190-47 authorize facility commanders to—

8-23. A prisoner is considered in an on-duty status except during mandatory sleeping hours, mealtimes, and reasonable periods of voluntary religious observations (as determined by the facility commander in coordination with the facility chaplain). A prisoner who is denied recreation time as part of an administrative disciplinary action may be required to perform recreation time duties as deemed necessary by the appropriate authority. Recreation time duties are not considered extra duty. Privileges are withheld from prisoners on an individual basis, without regard to custody requirements or grade and only as an administrative disciplinary measure authorized by AR 190-47. The attractiveness of living quarters and the type and amount of material items that can be possessed by prisoners may differ by custody grade to provide incentives for custody elevation. Prisoners are denied the privilege of rendering the military salute. Pretrial prisoners will salute when they are in the appropriate service uniform.

8-24. Authorized forms of administrative disciplinary action and punishment are described in AR 190-47 and the UCMJ. Constantly review procedures, rules, regulations, living conditions, and similar factors affecting discipline for violations and disciplinary problems. Physical and mental punishments are strictly prohibited. Authorized administrative disciplinary actions (listed in ascending order) and are as follows:

8-25. The facility commander is authorized to administer punishment, and he can delegate the authority to a subordinate officer (captain [CPT] or above) for minor punishments. The first field grade commander in the chain of command can impose major punishment when delegated authority by the first general officer in the chain of command. The following are prohibited punitive measures:

8-26. The following are prohibited security measures:

NOTE: See AR 190-47 for additional guidance and procedures on disciplinary measures.


8-27. The facility commander follows control and custody guidelines as outlined in AR 190-47. The inspecting officer's report includes the verification of prisoner strength. He conducts a physical count of prisoners daily that includes a—

8-28. The degree of custodial supervision necessary for an individual prisoner is based on a review his records, the Army Inmate Correction System (AICS), and the recommendations of correctional supervisors and professional-services support personnel. Prisoners are not assigned a permanent custody grade based solely on the offenses for which they were incarcerated. Classification is the minimum custody grade necessary based on security requirements and the AICS. Custody grades include trustee and minimum, medium, and maximum security. Facility commanders can subdivide the custody grades as required to facilitate additional security controls.


8-29. The FCF is administered by a CS MP unit or an I/R MP unit with an MP I/R confinement detachment if available. The facility commander appoints a guard commander who—

NOTE: CSB personnel assigned to the FCF may also perform these duties.

8-30. Facility guards are responsible for the custody, control, and discipline of prisoners under their supervision. See Table 8-2 for a complete list of their duties.

Table 8-2. Guard Duties

Position Actions
Close-confinement guards Maintain custody and control of prisoners who are segregated from the general population due to inprocessing or administrative or disciplinary reasons.

Accomplish activities within the schedule of calls, as applicable to the close-confinement area.

Conduct 30-minute checks (or 15-minute checks for special-status prisoners) when a DD Form 509 is required.

Ensure that all required signatures on DD Form 509 are obtained on a daily basis.

Dining-facility guards Maintain custody and control of prisoners during mealtime.

Ensure that the dining-facility traffic plan is followed.

Prevent congestion at condiment and juice areas.

Account for silverware before and after a meal.

Search prisoners before they leave the dining facility.

Employment detail guards Maintain custody, control, and supervision of prisoners while on details.

Ensure that work details are accomplished and safety precautions are observed.

Maintain strict accountability of equipment and tools.

Assist with frisk and strip searches of prisoners returning from details.

Account for prisoners on details according to the schedule of calls.

Track prisoners' locations at all times while on details.

Escort and AWOL apprehension guards Maintain custody and control of prisoners while moving them to and from designated places.

May be armed with a pistol if required and authorized by the facility commander.

Are qualified with a pistol and trained in the use of force and the ROE.

Are trained in firearms safety procedures for transporting prisoners by land, air, and sea.

NOTE: If available, an escort guard MP company may perform these duties.

Main gate and sally port guards Maintain custody and control of prisoners.

Ensure that only authorized persons enter the facility.

Inspect vehicles entering and exiting the facility.

Inspect packages.

Conduct inventories of items entering and exiting the facility.

Require noncustodial personnel to register on sign-in logs.

NOTE: If available, an MP guard company may perform these duties.

Visitor room guards Maintain custody and control of prisoners during visits by family members and other authorized persons.

Detect violations of rules and regulations, improper behavior, and contraband.

Maintain positions in inconspicuous places and observe conversations rather than listening to them.

Identify and report infractions, which may be grounds for terminating visits.

Hospital guards Maintain custody and control of prisoners while escorting them to and from medical appointments and during hospitalization.

Ensure that rooms are clear of contraband.

Prevent unauthorized communications.

Tower guards Maintain custody and control by observing specific sectors of the perimeter.

Are briefed on the use of force and are qualified with a 12-gauge shotgun or their assigned weapon.

Ensure that contraband is not passed through the fence.

Provide protection for compound guards.

NOTE: The facility commander adjusts the number and type of guards based on the available personnel.

NOTE: Control team guards assigned to the FCF may also perform these duties.

Required Regulations and Forms

8-31. Each facility must have a complete, current set of regulations covering correctional administration. The facility commander ensures that the facility is part of the publications distribution system. The following regulations and publications must be available:

8-32. Confinement facilities use a variety of forms to maintain records and reports. The following forms must be available:

Correctional-Treatment File

8-33. Establish a CTF within the first 72 hours of confinement, maintain it throughout the confinement period, and transfer it with the prisoner when he is evacuated to another facility. (See AR 190-47 for more information.)

Sentence Computation

8-34. Based on the type of operation and its projected duration, the theater commander may determine that certain sentences will be served in the TO. The FCF commander computes sentences according to AR 633-30 and DOD Directive 1325.4. He ensures that NCOs working in the personnel section are properly trained to compute sentences. Incorrect computations result in incorrect release dates and can violate a prisoner's legal rights. The rate of earnings for good-conduct time is calculated based on the prisoner's length of confinement, including pretrial time (see Table 8-3 ).

Table 8-3. Rates for Good-Conduct Time

Length of Sentence Good-Conduct Time
Less than 1 year 5 days for each month of the sentence
1 year to less than 3 years 6 days for each month of the sentence
3 years to less than 5 years 7 days for each month of the sentence
5 years to less than 10 years 8 days for each month of the sentence
10 years or more, excluding life 10 days for each month of the sentence

NOTE: If the term of confinement is reduced or if an additional sentence increases the term of confinement, recompute the good-conduct time at the abatement appropriate to the new term of confinement.

Mail and Correspondence

8-35. The FCF staff keeps a record of inspection of each prisoner's mail, correspondence, and authorized correspondents on DD Form 499. The guidance outlined in Chapter 7 and AR 190-47 also applies to the battlefield confinement of US military prisoners.

Prisoner Personal Property and Funds

8-36. Prisoners in the FCF are permitted to place personal property in safekeeping if it is not authorized for retention by the facility commander. The guidance outlined in Chapter 7 and AR 190-47 also applies to the battlefield confinement of US military prisoners.

Support Personnel

8-37. Support personnel organic to a CS MP unit or an I/R MP unit provide support to the FCF. Support personnel include medical officers, chaplains, and social-service workers. They may help administer the facility and are oriented and trained in custody and control procedures. Establish a formal training program that includes—

Supply Services

8-38. Supply functions in an FCF are the same as in other military operations. However, stronger security measures and accountability procedures are necessary to prevent certain supplies and equipment from falling into the hands of prisoners. Weapons, ammunition, and emergency equipment, such as hand and leg irons, must be stored in maximum-security, locked racks or cabinets in a room that is located away from prisoner areas.

8-39. The unit logistics officer ensures that a sufficient amount of general and janitorial items are available to keep the facility sanitary and free of potential diseases. Issue the items under strict control procedures and on an as-needed basis to prisoners and staff. Items include mops, buckets, brooms, cleansers, and office supplies.

8-40. Issue health and comfort items to new prisoners during inprocessing and regularly thereafter. Prisoners request additional supplies on DD Form 504, and they receive the supplies gratuitously if they are in a nonpay status. Basic supplies include safety razors, bath soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and shoe polish.

8-41. Conduct a physical inventory monthly to reconcile and balance the records of the previous inventory, supplies received, and supplies issued to prisoners. The facility commander or his designated representative verifies the inventory in writing.


8-42. The facility commander publishes formal plans for the apprehension of escaped prisoners, fire prevention, facility evacuation, prisoner riots and disorders, NBC evacuation, mass casualty, quarantine, special confinements, and prisoner processing. The plans must form part of the unit's SOP and be tailored to the operational environment where the FCF is located. Test the plans at least every six months, and record tests of emergency action plans in the facility blotter. The EEI are as follows:

8-43. The facility commander organizes a reactionary force that is trained in the use of force, riot control procedures, and other emergency actions. The size of the reactionary force depends on the personnel assets available and the nature of the emergency.

8-44. Where appropriate or legally required, use AR 15-6 to investigate reported incidents of misconduct, breaches of discipline, or violations of the UCMJ. Before interviewing prisoners suspected or accused of violations, advise them of their rights under Article 31, UCMJ, against self-incrimination. Any statement made may be used as evidence against them in a criminal trial or disciplinary-and-adjustment board proceeding. They have the right to consult with counsel and to have counsel present during questioning. A request to consult with counsel at this point does not automatically result in the case being referred to a three-member board. If requested, make arrangements for the prisoner to meet with an attorney as soon as practical. Interview relevant witnesses, including those identified by the prisoner, as deemed appropriate; and obtain written, sworn statements when possible. Complete the investigation expeditiously, and submit a disciplinary report to the facility commander.

8-45. Upon receipt of the disciplinary-and-adjustment board report, the facility commander reduces the report to a memorandum for record. He refers the case for counseling or reprimand, refers it to the disciplinary-and-adjustment board, or takes other appropriate action. (See AR 190-47 for more information.)


8-46. The facility commander establishes and enforces the ROI that allow humane treatment and care of prisoners, despite the reason they are incarcerated. The ROI are established by the facility commander, and some include—


8-47. Guidance on the use of force is incorporated in orders, plans, SOPs, and instructions at FDFs and FCFs. Using firearms or other means of deadly force is justified only under conditions of extreme necessity and as a last resort. Do not use physical force against a prisoner except in self-defense, to prevent escape, to prevent injury to others, to prevent damage to property, to quell a disturbance, to move an unruly prisoner, or as otherwise authorized in AR 190-47.

8-48. In the event of an imminent group or mass breakout from the FCF or another general disorder, ensure that prisoners know authority prevails, order will be restored, and means are available to restore order by force if necessary. Before applying force, try to reason with prisoners if the situation permits. If reasoning fails or if the existing situation does not permit reasoning, issue prisoners a direct order to terminate the disorder. Do not give the order until it can be enforced effectively by applying force as the situation requires. Before escalating beyond a show of force, allow uninvolved prisoners to voluntarily assemble in a controlled area away from the disturbance.

8-49. When force is necessary, apply it according to the priorities of force and limit it to the minimum degree necessary. The use of deadly force is prescribed by AR 190-14. The application of the priorities of force, or the application of a higher numbered priority without first employing a lower numbered one, depends on and is consistent with the situation encountered during any particular disorder. The priorities of force for an FCF are as follows:

8-50. The facility commander coordinates with the higher echelon commander and the SJA. He designates representatives who are authorized to direct the use of firearms and riot control agents in the event of a riot or other disturbance. Orders, plans, SOPs, and instructions include use-of-force rules and specify the types of weapons to be used.


8-51. Provide each guard with a whistle or other suitable alarm. Per AR 190-14, using firearms to prevent an escape is justified only when there is no other reasonable means available. If a prisoner tries to escape from the facility, the guard—

8-52. Do not fire on an escapee if it endangers others. When firing is necessary, aim shots to disable the prisoner rather than kill him. Guidance for the use of firearms by guards escorting prisoners outside the facility are the same as those for using firearms in the facility. (See AR 190-47 for more information.)

8-53. The facility commander ensures that guards are trained in the use of their assigned weapons. Orient all personnel on policies regarding the use of force and the provisions of AR 190-14. Issue 12-gauge shotguns with cylinder (unchoked) barrels to facility guards, and ensure that barrels do not exceed 20 inches in length. Authorized ammunition for armed guards (perimeter and escort) is number 9 shot in trap loads of 2 3/4 grams of powder and 1 1/8 ounces of shot. Tower guards use number 00 buckshot ammunition.

8-54. Instruct tower and escort guards not to fire at less than 20 meters to prevent prisoner escapes. Ensure that these instructions appear in training programs and special instructions for guards.

8-55. Guards use a 9-millimeter pistol when escorting prisoners. Do not use rifles, machine guns, or submachine guns when guarding prisoners. Do not take weapons inside the controlled areas of an FCF except as directed by the facility commander.


8-56. The facility commander maintains safety and security for prisoners under his control. He is also responsible for transportation requirements when prisoners are in his custody. Ensure that guard and escort personnel are familiar with the use-of-force guidelines above and the movement tasks outlined in STP 19-95C14-SM-TG. Some of the tasks are as follows:


8-57. The FCF commander is prepared to transfer US military prisoners from his facility to other confinement facilities outside the TO or back to their units. He releases prisoners from confinement with proper authorization. He coordinates with the SJA and the next higher commander to determine release authority and for authentication of DD Form 2718. (See Chapter 7and AR 190-47 for detailed guidance on transferring prisoners.)