Immigration Detention Justice Center
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McHenry County Jail

The McHenry County Jail, located in Woodstock, Illinois, houses immigration detainees pursuant to a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  In 2006, the facility held approximately 196 immigration detainees, although that figure is believed to have jumped to 400.  Most of the ICE detainees at McHenry are from Latin America, China, and Southeast Asia. 

Contact Information

Contacting the Facility


McHenry County Jail
2200 N. Seminary Avenue
Woodstock, Illinois 60098



Contacting A Detainee

To speak to a detainee by phone, the inmate will have to call you using a calling card or collect account.  The McHenry County Jail staff does not currently deliver non-emergency messages or allow inmates to make free phone calls to family and friends.  To pass information to a detainee, you are required to write a letter to the facility address.  Phone cards can be purchased from inside the facility.

To deposit money in the person’s commissary account, you have three options.  You can send a money order to the facility, your can deposit money online by using Access Corrections, or you can go to the facility and deposit money into the credit card kiosks in the jail lobby.

To visit the person, the hours depend on whether the detainee is a male or female.

  • for females, go on Sunday (9am-11am); Thursday (9am-11am, 12pm-1:30pm, 2:30pm-3:30pm, 6pm-9pm); Saturdays (9am-11am)
  • for males, go Sunday (12pm-1:30pm, 2:30pm-3:30pm, 6:30pm-9pm); Monday-Wednesday-Friday (9am-11am, 12pm-1:30pm, 2:30pm-3:30pm, 6pm-9pm); Tuesday (9am-11am, 12pm-1:30pm, 2:30pm-3:30pm); Friday (9am-11am, 12pm-1:30pm, 2:30pm-3:30pm, 6pm-9pm)

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

Inmate Name, Alien Number, Booking Number
McHenry County Jail
2200 N. Seminary Avenue
Woodstock, Illinois 60098

Contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

McHenry County Jail

Dormitory inside the McHenry County Jail, which holds several hundred ICE detainees.

The deportation officers assigned to ICE detainees at McHenry County Jail are located in Chicago, Illinois.  You can reach them by calling (312) 347-2400.  To be routed to the correct officer, have available the inmate’s full name, nationality, and alien number.  The head officer in charge of detained cases at McHenry is Assistant Field Office Director Louie Zamora.  The regional supervisor is Chicago Field Office Director Ricardo A. Wong.

Getting Released

Immigration Bonds

McHenry ICE detainees are sometimes eligible for release on an immigration bond.  To find out if ICE is willing to release a person on bond, and at what amount, you must contact an ICE officer at the Chicago ERO Field Office.  The number for the office is  (312) 347-2400.  Even if ICE denies a person release on bond, he or she should still consult with an immigration attorney about other options.  One possibility is requesting a bond hearing before an immigration judge.

Bond can be posted at any ICE ERO Field Office in the United States.  Typically, however, McHenry detainees are released in the shortest amount of time when bond is posted at the Chicago ERO Field Office:

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

To post bond, bring to the Field Office a cashier’s check or money order written to the Department of Homeland Security.

The Removal Process

ICE detainees at McHenry are inevitably charged with removability from the United States.  In most cases, the detainee has the opportunity to defend himself against deportation.  The detainee can hire a legal representative to either rebut ICE’s allegations of removability, to present evidence in favor of granting relief from deportation, or to negotiate deals with the ICE prosecutors.

Immigration Court

McHenry County Jail inmates appear at the Chicago Immigration Court via televideo.  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 currently assigned to detained cases include:

  • Judge Philip DiMarzio
  • Judge Eliza C. Klein

If a person is released from McHenry on an immigration bond, his case is automatically transferred to the non-detained docket at the Chicago Immigration Court.  Thus, the hearing locations will change to 55 East Monroe, Suite 1900, Chicago, Illinois.  Even after the person is released from detention, he or she must attend all hearings at the new location, or the person may face automatic deportation.


An ICE detainee at McHenry may be forced to wait up to 3 weeks to see an immigration judge.  Detained cases in the Chicago region take, on average, 44 days to be completed.

Facility Background

The McHenry County Jail was built in 1991 at a cost of $14.5 million.  In 2005, ICE paid the jail $6.5 million to complete renovations so that immigration detainees could be housed there.  Accordingly, the third floor of the jail was built out to house ICE detainees.  In August of 2006, after construction was completed and the facility began housing ICE detainees, a delegation from a major law firm visited the facility to perform its first audit.  The Latham & Watkins attorneys discovered that the facility was automatically disconnecting inmate phone calls over 15 minutes long, that it did not allow private phone calls to attorneys, that it denied adequate access to legal research tools, and lacked an adequate procedure for filing grievances.

In March of 2005, a 27 year-old Algerian ICE detainee named Hassiba Belbachir died at the McHenry County Jail.  His dead was reported in a Washington Post article date May 10, 2008.

In May of 2010, the McHenry County Jail was the site of a protest of McHenry County’s adoption of ICE’s Secure Communities Initiative.

In April of 2011, the National Immigrant Justice Center filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, citing illegal conduct towards a transgender ICE detainee at McHenry County Jail.  The complaint alleged that the transgender detainee, who was held at McHenry for 9 months, was kept in total isolation except for his contact with verbally and physically abusive officers.

Nearby Facilities

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

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