Suffolk County Jail | Immigration Detention Justice Center
Immigration Detention Justice Center
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Suffolk County Jail

The Suffolk County Jail is a county jail in Massachusetts which houses immigration detainees pursuant to an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  The jail — located in Boston proper — houses as many as 1,900 detainees.  Of these, roughly 250 are immigration detainees who are in removal proceedings or are awaiting deportation.  The jail is sometimes called the Suffolk County House of Corrections or South Bay House of Corrections.

Contact Information

Contacting the Facility


Suffolk County House of Corrections (South Bay)
20 Bradston Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02118


(617)635-1000 (press ‘3’ for ICE housing unit)

Contacting A Detainee

To speak to a detainee by phone, you will have to make arrangements for the detainee to call you using phones inside the facility.  The Suffolk County House of Corrections will not connect you directly to an inmate.  Neither will the jail pass on non-emergency messages to detainees.  Also, the jail does not provide inmates with free phone calls to family and friends, so you will have to add money to the person’s phone account.

To deposit money in the person’s account, call (800)844-6591 and set up an account with Evercom Correctional Billing Services.  Once the account is set up, the inmate can place collect calls to you from inside the jail.

To visit a person at the detention facility, you must be pre-approved for visitation.  To get pre-approval, go to the South Bay jail after 3pm and ask for an application for visitation.

To send mail to the person, use the following address:

Inmate Name and Alien Number
Suffolk County House of Corrections (South Bay)
20 Bradston Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02118

Contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Protesters outside the Suffolk County House of Corrections, May 2009

Protesters outside the Suffolk County House of Corrections, May 2009

Although the deportation officers are in and out of Suffolk County jail throughout the day, they are officed at the Boston ERO Field Office, located in Burlington, Massachusetts.  They can be reached at (781)359-7701.  The ICE office in Burlington is located at 10 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803.  Before calling or visiting, make sure to have available the detainee’s alien number.  This will make it easier to get information on the detainee’s case.

The supervising ICE officer is Assistant Field Office Director Tina Guarna-Armstrong.  The regional supervisor of detained cases in Massachusetts is Field Office Director Bruce E. Chadbourne.

Getting Released

Immigration Bonds

ICE detainees at the Suffolk County House of Corrections are sometimes released on bond.  Bond eligibility is based on a number of factors, like criminal history, length of residence in the US, and the probability of getting legal relief from deportation.  To find out if ICE has granted a bond in a person’s case, call the Boston ERO Field Office at (781)359-7701.  Even when ICE does not set a bond, the detainee should consult an immigration attorney to find out if there are other ways to get released.

Bond can be posted at any ICE ERO Field Office in the United States.  However, Suffolk County detainees should post bond in Burlington, as this guarantees release in the shortest amount of time:

10 New England Executive Park
Burlington, Massachusetts 01803

To contact the bond unit in Burlington, call (781)359-7500 and press ‘5’.


When bond is posted for a Suffolk County ICE detainee, he or she is transferred from South Bay to the ICE office in Burlington, Massachusetts.  Family members should plan to pick up the detainee from Burlington.  ICE does not currently provide transportation for the detainee to the nearest airport of bus station.

The Removal Process

Detainees at the South Bay facility are typically charged with removability from the United States.  Unless the person has been deported once before, he or she has a chance to respond to this charge before an immigration judge.  At removal hearings, the person is entitled to legal representation, at no expense to the government.

Immigration Court

Detainees at Suffolk County appear via televideo at the immigration court in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Boston Immigration Court is located at the JFK Federal Building, 15 New Sudbury Street, Room 320, Boston, Massachusetts 02203.  There is only one judge assigned to detained cases at Suffolk County — Judge Steven F. Day.  When a person is released from ICE detention on bond, his or her case is transferred to the non-detained docket of the Boston Immigration Court.  The person must still attend all court hearings until his case is completed.


It can take up to 3 weeks for a Suffolk County ICE detainee to see an immigration judge.  On average, detained cases in Boston take 82 days to be completed.

Facility Background

The Suffolk County House of Corrections was built in 1990 and opened in 1991.  It has a maximum capacity of 1,892 inmates.  The South Bay jail serves as an “in-processing” and “out-processing” hub for ICE’s Boston Field Office.  This means that all Massachusetts immigrant detainees must pass through Suffolk at some point in the removal process.  While some detainees remain at Suffolk County Jail, others are transferred to another facility, and other are deported from the United States. The facility has four floors.  ICE detainees there are mostly from Central and Latin American and the Caribbean.  They are classified according to the seriousness of their criminal history.

In May of 2009, protesters gather outside of the Suffolk County House of Corrections at South Bay to rally against the county’s acceptance of ICE detainees in exchange for federal money.  The 60 protesters were endorsed by over 15 immigrant advocacy groups across Massachusetts.  The protesters reconvened in November of 2009, just days after the death of Pedro Tavarez, an ICE detainee at Suffolk County.

Nearby Facilities

If you are having difficulty locating someone at the Suffolk County House of Corrections, you may want to try contacting any the following immigration detention centers:

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