This page provides general information on procedures for determining where prisoners may be held and how to request a transfer to another location.
Requests to Transfer to Other Jurisdiction
If you want to request a transfer out of the Massachusetts DOC system, this memorandum describes the process you should follow. PLS does not ordinarily provide direct assistance on classification matters such as transfers to a county, out of state or federal facility.
According to DOC policy 103 DOC 419.3(1), recommendations for interstate or federal transfers shall normally occur through the classification process in accordance with the classification regulations at 103 CMR 420. The classification regulations provide that your correction program officer (CPO) will interview you prior to a classification hearing. (See generally 103 DOC 420.08(5) for procedures governing classification board hearings.) The CPO must make a comprehensive oral and written presentation to the classification board that includes a summary of your history, adjustment, current needs, etc. If you want to request a transfer, you must discuss the issue with your CPO and submit any written follow-up requested of you. The oral and written requests should set forth in detail the reasons for your transfer request.
Your request will be reviewed by your classification board at your next regularly scheduled classification hearing. You may appear before the board to present any needs and goals for the board’s consideration after the CPO’s presentation. You may request a hearing prior to the next scheduled review by making a request to your CPO, including the reason for the expedited review. 103 DOC 420.09(4)(b)4. The Superintendent or designee will decide if an early review will be scheduled.
If you are not satisfied with the recommendation from the classification board, you must file an appeal with the Superintendent of your institution within five working days of oral notification of the board’s recommendation (generally the day of the hearing). A copy of the appeal form is attached. If you are not satisfied with the Commissioner’s final decision with respect to the classification hearing, you may submit a completed appeal form to the “assigned institutional personnel” or his/her designee with a copy to:
Classification, Programs and Health Services
DOC Executive Headquarters
50 Maple Street, Suite 3
Milford, MA 01757
Finally, pursuant to 103 CMR 420.10, a prisoner may request that a Department Review Board be convened “in unusual or complex situations to review and make recommendations regarding an inmate’s classification or placement to the Commissioner. Instances in which the board might be convened include, but are not limited to, the following: to classify inmates who present difficult placement issues; to address inmates with special needs, or to review cases of inmates who present threats to the safety and/or security of themselves, staff and/or other inmates.” The Department Review Board will follow the same procedures as regular classification boards (103 CMR 420.08(5)(a)-(i)). A request for such a board must be initiated with your CPO.
Questions regarding transfer procedures may be directed to:
Manager, Interstate, County and Federal Transfers
Post Office Box 188
Norfolk, MA 02056
If you are a prisoner held in a county jail and you wish to transfer to another county jail, you should direct your request to the classification department at the jail you are currently housed in. Further requests should be addressed to the Sheriff and Superintendent of the county where you are held.
Explanation of Where Prisoner May be Held
If you are AWAITING TRIAL, under Mass General Law c. 276, §52A you can be moved:
from one jail to another; or from jail to a state correctional facility, if you were previously incarcerated in a state correctional facility serving a felony sentence. If you have not been previously incarcerated in a state prison, you should not be incarcerated in a state prison while awaiting trial. If you are, you should contact your caseworker immediately and request that you be held in a county institution while awaiting trial.
If you have been SENTENCED, under Mass General Law c. 127, §97 you can be moved:
On a county sentence
from one jail or house of correction to another.
from a jail or house of correction to a state correctional facility, except NOT to MCI-Cedar Junction (Walpole) and arguably not to Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. Brown v. Commissioner of Correction, 394 Mass. 89, 474 N.E.2d 1059 (1985). In Brown, the court held that an unindicted prisoner could not be held at Walpole. This has not been specifically established for SBCC, but the argument would be that if you cannot be forced to serve time at Walpole, which was the highest level security prison at the time the law was made, you cannot be forced to serve time at a new prison with the same security level.
On a state sentence
from a state correctional facility to a jail or house of correction, if you are not serving a life sentence.
from one state correctional facility to another.
If you were committed as sexually dangerous and are also serving a criminal sentence, you can be transferred from the treatment center to another correctional facility. M.G.L. c. 123A, §2A. 103 C.M.R. 460.
If you were sentenced to state prison, you can be moved to any available or appropriate federal correctional institution in the continental United States. MG.L. c. 127, §97A.
If you were sentenced to state prison and a treaty between the United States and a foreign country provides for your transfer to that country, you can be moved there with your written consent and the approval of the governor. M.G.L. c. 127, §97B.
If you were sentenced by a federal court and transferred to a Massachusetts jail or house of correction, you can be moved to another jail, house of correction, or state correctional facility. M.G.L. c. 127, §113.