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Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System

From Academic Kids

Formed in 1995 when the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the United States Marshals Service merged their air fleets, the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS) transports more than a quarter million prisoners and aliens each year. Run by the Marshals Service and Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, JPATS has hubs in Anchorage, Alaska; Mesa, Arizona; Alexandria, Louisiana; and the Virgin Islands.

Usually, the airline employs Boeing 727s to transport convicts and illegal residents of the United States for extradition. But small jets are also used to transport individual prisoners who are considered particularly dangerous.

Immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks, when the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all civilian air service, JPATS was the only non-military air service allowed to continue flying in U.S. airspace.

Fact vs. fiction

The 1997 Nicolas Cage movie Con Air was set on this airline. In fact, "Con Air" was already a real-life nickname for JPATS prior to the movie. However, the movie portrays the jet interior as a much steelier, more prison-like environment than a typical JPATS 727, which in reality looks much like any other airliner. It is actually against the law to restrain prisoners while on JPATS, due to FAA regulations and safety concerns.

The Wesley Snipes movie U.S. Marshals depicted the story of a flight from this airline that crashed.


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