Interstate Agreement on Detainers

What Does Interstate Detainer Mean?

The Interstate Agreement on Detainers (the Agreement) is an agreement that applies to the transfers of sentenced prisoners between two states or between the federal government and a state.

The purpose of the transfer is for the trial of the prisoner in another jurisdiction on an unrelated matter for which he is incarcerated. The Agreement is not applicable for the transfer of a federal prisoner between several jurisdictions for trial on federal charges.

The Agreement was enacted to encourage the expeditious disposition of outstanding charges against a prisoner. The Agreement is applicable between 48 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government.

Provisions of the Agreement

There are two parties involved in detainer proceedings, the receiving state or the state that lodged the detainer and the sending state or the state that has custody of the prisoner.

Under the Agreement, after a detainer has been issued by a receiving state the prisoner is permitted to initiate a final disposition of any untried indictment or complaint against him in another state.

A detainer lodged against the prisoner must be prosecuted within 180 days from the delivery of the detainer. The time period is shortened to 120 days when the receiving state has requested custody of the prisoner. The above time periods may be extended if good cause is shown. If the time periods are not adhered to the indictment will be dismissed with prejudice.

Applicability of the Agreement

The Agreement only applies in instances where the prisoner has actually entered a term of imprisonment in a correctional institution.

The Agreement is applicable in the following instances:

  • To sentenced prisoners who face untried charges.
  • To charges that are included in an indictment, information or complaint.
  • The untried charges must have a detainer attached to them.

The Agreement is not applicable in the following instances:

    • Parole violation proceedings
    • Detainer based upon a judgment and order of commitment
    • Defendant awaiting trial
    • Writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum
  • Writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum.

Transfer of the Prisoner and Anti-Shuttling Provisions

The Agreement provides that if the receiving state does not have a trial on the charges listed in the indictment for which the receiving state received a detainer prior to the return of the prisoner to the sending state, the court shall dismiss the case with prejudice. The aforementioned statement is not applicable if the federal government is the receiving jurisdiction and there has been notice and an opportunity for a hearing.

The protections of the Anti-Shuttling provisions may be waived. The prisoner may waive the provisions by requesting that he be re-transferred prior to the disposition of the outstanding charges in the receiving state. There is no requirement that the waiver be of a voluntary and knowing nature.

Extradition Rights

The Agreement preserves a prisoner’s extradition rights under the laws of the state of incarceration. Depending upon the laws of the incarcerating state, the prisoner may be entitled to a hearing prior to being transferred to another state. The Agreement also gives the sending state’s governor 30 days to disapprove a request for transfer of the prisoner.