Immigration Detention Justice Center

Irwin County Detention Center

The Irwin County Detention Center, located in Ocilla, Georgia, serves to house immigration detainees pursuant to a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  The facility, located 3 hours from Atlanta, Georgia, only began housing immigrant detainees in December of 2010.  Since then, it already come under fire from the ACLU of Georgia for maltreatment of immigrant detainees.  The Irwin facility houses only a small proportion of the 2,000 or so immigrants detained in the state of Georgia.

Contact Information

Contacting the Facility

Address:

Irwin County Detention Center
132 Cotton Drive
Ocilla, Georgia 31774

Phone:

(229)468-4121

Contacting A Detainee

To speak to a detainee by phone, you will have to write a letter for the person to call you.  Unfortunately, the facility staff will not pass messages to Irwin detainees or connect you directly to a person by phone.  Make sure to fund the person’s inmate calling account.

To deposit money in the person’s phone account,  call Amtel/ATNI at (800)849-6081 and be prepared to make payment by credit card.

To visit the person, go to jail’s address between the following hours:

  • for male detainees, go on Thursday or Saturday between 1pm and 5pm
  • for female detainees, go on Friday or Sunday between 1pm and 5pm

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

Inmate Name, Alien Number, Booking Number
Irwin County Detention Center
132 Cotton Drive
Ocilla, Georgia 31774

Contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Irwin County Detention Center

The Irwin County Detention Center, which began housing ICE detainees in January 2010

The ICE deportation officers assigned to Irwin County Jail work from the Atlanta ERO Field Office.  The Field Office’s duty desk can be reached at (404)893-1290.  To be routed to the deportation officer assigned to the case, make sure to provide the last three digits of the person’s alien number.  The head ICE officer at Irwin County Detention Center is Jarvis McMillar.  He is supervised by Field Office Director Felicia S. Skinner at the Atlanta ERO Field Office.  To visit a deportation officer in person, go to the field office during business hours.  The office is located at 180 Spring Street SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303.

Getting Released

Immigration Bonds

ICE detainees at Irwin are sometimes eligible for an immigration bond, especially when they have a non-serious criminal history and strong ties to the United States.  To find out if ICE is willing to release a person on bond, call the deportation officer assigned to the case at (404)893-1290.  Even when ICE is unwilling to release a person on an immigration bond, the person may be able to obtain release by requesting a bond hearing with an immigration judge.  Contact an immigration attorney for more details.

To post bond from outside of Georgia, go to any ICE ERO Field Office in the country.  To get an Irwin detainee released in the shortest amount of time, post bond at the Atlanta ERO Field Office, where the case file is probably located:

Atlanta ERO Field Office
180 Spring Street SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Persons wishing to post bond for a detainee must be either US citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Post-Release

Immigration detainees at the Irwin County Detention Center are not typically transported to an airport of bus station after being released on bond.

The Removal Process

Irwin County Detention Center ICE detainees are almost always placed in removal proceedings.  In these proceedings, the ICE detainee has the chance to be represented by an attorney and to put forth a defense to removal.  ICE, by contrast, acts a prosecutor, alleging and attempting to prove that the person should be deported from the United States.  An immigration judge acts as the neutral decisionmaker on whether to deport the person or allow him to stay.

Immigration Court

Immigration detainees at Irwin County Jail have their cases heard by the Atlanta Immigration Court.  In their hearings, Irwin detainees remain at the jail facility and communicate to the judge and attorneys using videoconferencing.  There are currently 4 judges who hear cases out of the Irwin County Detention Center.

  • Judge Earle Wilson
  • Judge Dan J. Pelletier
  • Judge Wayne K. Houser, Jr.
  • Judge William A. Cassidy

Timeframe

Irwin detainees may wait up to 3 weeks for their initial court hearing, depending on how quickly ICE processes the individual and files charging documents with the immigration court.  Statistics are not currently available on the average days for completion of immigration cases at Irwin County Detention Center.

Facility Background

The Irwin County Detention Center is owned by Irwin County but run by Detention Management LLC, the county’s largest private employer.  In December of 2010, the Irwin County Jail reached an agreement with ICE to house immigrant detainees.  Starting on January 1, 2011, roughly 100 female immigration detainees were transferred from a jail in Alabama to the Irwin County Detention Center.  Around that time, males detainees from the Etowah County Detention Center were also moved to Irwin.  (It was expected at the time that the Etowah facility would shut down, but officials there recently renewed their contract with ICE.)

In March of 2011, the ACLU of Georgia issued a scathing report about conditions at the Steward Detention Center and Irwin County Detention Center.  Descriptions of the Irwin facility were based on interviews of three immigrant women who were detained there.  They shared “disturbing accounts” of deficiencies in access to health care, poor hygiene, poor quality food, and lack of materials in Spanish.

Nearby Facilities

If you are having difficulty locating someone at the Irwin Detention Center, you may want to try contacting any the following facilities:

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