Immigration Detention Justice Center
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Jefferson County Justice Center

The Jefferson County Justice Center is a county jail located in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, which houses immigration detainees on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  There are approximately 40 ICE detainees held at the facility on an average daily basis.

Contact Information

Contacting the Facility


Jefferson County Justice Center
911 Casey Avenue
Mount Vernon, Illinois 62864



Contacting A Detainee

To speak to a detainee by phone, you must make arrangements for the inmate to call you from the facility.  The jail staff will not pass messages to a detainee.  Your best best is to write the detainee a letter stating when and where he should place the phone call.  Note: inmates at Jefferson County are not allowed free phone calls to family and friends.  You will need to send money to the detainee so he or she can purchase a phone card.

To deposit money in the person’s account, you can either send money via Western Union or mail a money order to the facility’s address.  Once the money is received, the inmate will be able to use it to purchase food, clothing, and calling cards.

To visit the person, go to the facility address on Thursday, Saturday, or Sunday from 10:30am-2:30pm and between 5:30pm and 9:30pm.  Note: visitors of ICE inmates are limited to 1 hour of visitation per week.

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

Inmate Name, Alien Number, Booking Number
Jefferson County Justice Center
911 Casey Avenue
Mount Vernon, Illinois 62864

Contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

The ICE deportation office located in Chicago, Illinois.  To speak to the deportation officer assigned a person’s case, call (312)347-2400 and press ‘5’ for the detained unit.  From there, you will choose an extension based on the person’s nationality and alien number.  Frequently ICE officers will not answer their phones.  The supervisory ICE officer in charge of detained cases at Jefferson County is Louie Zamora.  The officer in charge of the Chicago region is Field Office Director Ricardo A. Wong.

Getting Released

Immigration Bonds

Some immigrants detained at Jefferson County Justice Center may be eligible for release on an immigration bond.  Eligibility will turn on the person’s criminal history, family and social ties to the United States, and chances of receiving relief from removal.  To determine if ICE is willing to release a person on bond, call the Chicago ERO Field Office and ask to be connected to an ICE officer handling the person’s case.  Even when ICE denies release on bond, you should consult with an immigration attorney to find out if it is worth requesting a bond hearing before an immigration judge.

To post bond, go to any ICE ERO Field Office in the United States.  To get a Jefferson inmate released in the shortest amount of time, it is recommended that you post bond at the Chicago ERO Field Office:

Chicago ERO Field Office
101 W. Congress Parkway Suite 4000
Chicago, Illinois 60605

Only US citizens and lawful permanent residents are allowed to post bond for an immigration detainee.

The Removal Process

Jefferson County immigration detainees are charged with removability soon after entering ICE custody.  In most cases, the detainee has to defend against this charge in immigration court.  He or she is entitled to legal representation at no expense to the government.

Immigration Court

Jefferson County inmates appear via televideo at the Chicago (detained) Immigration Court.  The detained cases are heard at 536 South Clark, Chicago, Illinois 60605.  Note: the location of the Chicago Immigration Court will be moving in the future to 525 West Van Buren Street, Chicago, Illinois 60607.  The immigration judges hearing cases at Jefferson rotate.  They include:

  • Judge Philip DiMarzio
  • Judge Eliza C. Klein


It can take 1-3 weeks for a detainee at Jefferson County to see an immigration judge.  The average time for case completion of detained cases is roughly 1-3 months.

Facility Background

The Jefferson County Justice Center houses federal detainees from the United States Marshals Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  According to the Mt. Vernon Register, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office collects $2.7M annually for housing detainees transferred from outside the county.  As of November of 2011, ICE was backed up on money owed by $500,000.

In May of 2011, the National Immigrant Justice Center sued the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for failing comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for ICE’s contract with Jefferson County.  The National Immigrant Justice Center requested relief in the form of an injunction ordering ICE to produce the document.

Nearby Facilities

If you are having difficulty locating an immigration detainee at the Jefferson County Justice Center, you may want to try contacting any the following facilities:

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