Immigration Detention Justice Center

West County Detention Center in Contra Costa County

The West County Detention Center is an immigration detention facility located in Richmond, California, a city in Contra Costa County.  The detention center is located about 23 miles from San Francisco, just across the Bay Bridge.  The facility is one of four detention centers owned and operated by Contra Costa County.  (The other three are Martinez Detention Facility, Custody Alternative Facility, and March Creek Detention Facility.)  The West County Detention Center houses up to 1,104 inmates, and contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold immigrant detainees pending completion of their removal cases at the San Francisco Immigration Court.

Contact Information

Contacting the Facility

Address:

West County Detention Center
5555 Giant Highway
Richmond, California 94806

Phone:

(510)262-4200

Contacting A Detainee

To speak to a detainee by phone, you can only write a letter to a detainee to call you at a given time.  The West County Detention Facility staff will not pass messages to detainees, and will not connect your call directly to an inmate.  Also note: immigration detainees are not allowed free phone calls, so family and friends who wish to speak to inmates must deposit money in their account.

To deposit money in the person’s account, you have three options.  You can bring cash to the main lobby of the detention center.  You can go online and make a deposit at www.mycarepack.com.  Finally, you can mail a money order or cashier’s check to the detention facility.  Personal checks are not accepted.

To visit the a person at the the West County Detention Center, note that there are no fixed visiting hours.  The inmate will have to request a visitation time.  Once a visitation is approved, the inmate will have to notify you of the date and time.  He or she can notify you of the appointment by either calling you or writing you a letter.

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

Inmate Name, Alien Number, and Booking Number
West County Detention Center
5555 Giant Highway
Richmond, California 94806

Contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

West County Detention Center protesters

Protesters Outside the West County Detention Facility, July 2011

ICE deportation officers work out of a separate office, although they visit the facility frequently.  The ICE office can be reached at (415)844-5512.  Press “2″ to speak to a deportation officer.  Listen carefully to the menu to be routed to the officer assigned to the person’s deportation case.  The head officer assigned to the West County Detention Center inmates is Assistant Field Office Director Jason McClay.  His supervisor is Field Office Director Timothy S. Aitken.

Getting Released

Immigration Bonds

Inmates at West County Detention Center in Richmond, California may sometimes be eligible for release on an immigration bond.  To find out an inmate’s custody status, contact the San Francisco Enforcement and Removal Operations Field Office at (415)844-5512, and press “2″ to be connected with deportation officers.  Even if ICE is not willing to release a person on bond, the person or his attorney may still request a bond hearing before an immigration judge.  Contact an immigration attorney for additional information.

If you decide to post bond, you can do so at any ICE ERO Field Office in the United States.  However, to obtain the fastest release of an immigration detainee at the West County Detention Center, post bond at the San Franciso Field Office:

630 Sansome Street, Suite 590
San Francisco, California 94111

Post-Release

After posting bond, inmates released from the detention facility in Contra Costa will not be dropped off at the nearest bus station or airport.  Family and friends of the detainee must pick up the detainee directly from the facility.

The Removal Process

Immigration detainees at the Richmond detention facility are almost always placed in removal hearings.  In removal hearings, detainees are charged by ICE with removability from the United States.  Unless the person has been deported or committed a very serious crime, he or she is usually entitled to see an immigration judge.  At his or her removal hearings, the person has the opportunity to offer a defense to deportation with the assistance of an immigration attorney.

Immigration Court

Immigration detainees at the West County Detention Center appear before the San Francisco Immigration Court.  Most hearings are done by televideo, where the detainees remain at the detention facility, but can video-conference with the immigration judge in San Francisco.  Note: the San Francisco Immigration Court has two locations.  Detainees’ cases are heard out of Appraisers Building, located at 630 Sansome Street, 4th Floor, Room 475, San Francisco, California 94111.  The Court can be reached at (415)705-1033.  There are currently three immigration judges at this location:

  • Judge Michael Yamaguchi
  • Judge Lawrence N. DiCostanzo
  • Judge Anthony S. Murry

When a person is released from the immigration detention facility in Richmond, his case is automatically transferred to the non-detained docket of the San Francisco Immigration Court.  If the case is still pending, it will be heard from 120 Montgomery Street, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94104.

Timeframe

It can take up to 3 weeks for an inmate in Contra Costa to see an immigration judge, depending on how long the ICE deportation officers take to file the case with the immigration court.  Once a case is filed, it takes an average of 109 days for San Francisco detainees to complete their cases.

Facility Background

The West County Detention Center in Contra Costa County was opened in 1991 and serves as a medium-security facility.  In July of 2011, roughly 100 local residents staged a peaceful protest at the facility.  The protest appeared to be aimed at the ICE’s broarder practice of deporting non-criminals, as opposed to detainee conditions or maltreatment at the West County Detention Center.  In August of 2011, students at the Santa Clara University School of Law founded a group called Detention Dialogues, to facilitate public visitation of immigration detainees at the West County Detention Facility.  Under the program, Detention Dialogues visitors can visit immigration inmates any day of the week.  (Regular visitors can only meet detainees during pre-approved and pre-scheduled visits.)

Nearby Facilities

If you are having difficulty locating someone at the West County Detention Facility, you may want to try contacting any the following immigration detention centers:

 

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