Attorney Access to Clients (Bridgewater)

(508) 279-4500

Attorneys wishing to visit their clients at Bridgewater State Hospital are subject to the provisions of the DOC Attorney Access Regulations (103 CMR 486) and, unless directly in conflict with 103 CMR 486, the Visiting Procedure Regulations (103 CMR 483) and other applicable DOC regulations and policies.  All such regulations and policies are available at http://www.mass…v/doc/policies.htm.  Specifically, attorneys should be aware of the following:

  • All attorneys upon entry are required to present a bar membership card and one other piece of identification with a photograph, if requested to do so by institution personnel.
  • All attorneys are subject to search (initially consisting of metal detector or hand-held scanner) prior to entry.
  • Attorneys may visit patients and inmates in general population during regular visiting hours and upon one-hour notice at any other time between 9:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. daily.  Call the main telephone number for current visiting hours; to provide one-hour notice, call (508) 279-4556 and request the Shift Commander.
  • Attorneys may visit patients and inmates housed apart from general population between 9:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. daily.  Attorneys who wish to visit such patients and inmates should normally give the institution advance notice at least one day prior to the visit.
  • Legal papers and writing materials may be brought into the institution, after being inspected (but not read or copied) for contraband.
  • Attorneys may leave a reasonable amount of legal papers or documents with patients and inmates who are in the general population; these papers will be inspected (but not read or copied) after the visit with the patient or inmate.
  • Attorneys may carry cameras, tape recorders and tapes for use during an interview.  Such equipment is subject to inspection.
  • No cell phones or briefcases are permitted.  A maximum of $3.00 is permitted for the vending machines.
  • Access to patient records:
    • Attorneys appointed to represent Bridgewater State Hospital patients in civil commitment and Rogers hearings will have access to patient records upon presentation of their Notice of Appointment of Counsel letter or form.  All other attorneys must secure signed releases of information from their clients (or a court order) prior to records being released.
    • Whenever possible, attorneys should call the Records Department at least one day in advance to schedule a time to review records.
    • Attorneys who request a copy of their client’s entire record should make an appointment to review the record in the Records Department, at which time copies will be made of the information they require.  Otherwise, patient’s records will be copied and mailed, after payment of copying costs if the patient is not indigent, as soon as possible.
  • Major patient/inmate counts are conducted at 11:15 A.M. and 5:00 P.M.  Patients/inmates are not available for approximately thirty minutes during these times.  Patients/inmates are also not available during the afternoon shift change (2:35 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.).
  • During any emergency situation, all movement is “frozen”, including entrance into and exit from the facility.  Patients/inmates are therefore unavailable for the duration of the emergency situation.

Attorneys can contact a member of the Bridgewater State Hospital legal staff by calling the main Legal Office telephone number listed below.  Prior to coming to the Legal Office area on the second floor of the Administration Building, attorneys should call that number to obtain an escort.

Contact information:

Kenneth W. Nelson, Superintendent
(508) 279-4520 (office)
Email: [email protected]
Michael Cohen, Supervising Counsel
(508) 279-4538 (office)
Email: [email protected]
Martin Wood, Records Manager
(508) 279-4570
Email: [email protected]
Irene Curtin, Administrative Assistant
BSH Legal Office
(508) 279-4543