Transfers of ICE Detainees from the
Roanoke City Jail
Roanoke, Virginia

Detainees Transferred
Number last 12 months 134
Out of total detained 135
Facility ranking on transfers top 51 %

Table 1: Transfers

During the most recent 12 month period for which data are available, a total of 134 detainees were transferred by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from the Roanoke City Jail where they had been temporarily housed to other facilities. The average stay for these individuals before their transfer was 2 days. The use of this facility for the temporary housing of federal immigration detainees was arranged through an intergovernmental service agreement (IGSA) under which payments by ICE to another governmental agency are made for housing federal detainees. Additional information about the arrangement, including whether a private company may operate the facility for the government, was not available at the time this report was posted.

Transfers made up 99 percent of the 135 detainees who in one way or another left this facility during the last 12 months. This report focuses just on these transfers. The remaining individuals who departed from the Roanoke City Jail last year actually left ICE detention. These individuals were deported from the country, released under supervision while their cases was being decided, or left ICE detention for a variety of other reasons. For more information on this facility please see additional TRAC reports in this series.

This report series is based upon analyses conducted by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University of 1.7 million government records tracking each individual who passed through an ICE detention facility during fiscal year 2015. This most recent 12 month period for which comprehensive data are available covers October 2014 through September 2015. See About the Data.

How This Facility Ranks Nationally

Detainee transfer rankings. The Roanoke City Jail was one of 637 facilities nationwide that housed ICE detainees during the most recent 12 month period. Of these 637, there were 409 facilities that had at least 10 ICE detainee transfers last year. Excluding those facilities with fewer than 10 transfers, the Roanoke City Jail last year ranked in the top 51 percent nationwide in the number of individuals it transferred to other ICE facilities. This means that 51 percent of the locations contributed the same or a larger numbers of transfers, while 49 percent had a smaller number. See Table 1.

Average length of stay before transfer. Once detainees arrived at the Roanoke City Jail their average length of stay before being transferred on to another ICE facility was 2 days last year. Ranking facilities from longest to shortest detention stays for their transfer population, this average of 2 days placed Roanoke City Jail in the top 58 percent of all facilities nationwide. That is, for detainees who are transferred, 58 percent of ICE detention facilities have the same or longer average stays last year, while 42 percent of detention facilities had shorter average stays.

Origins and Destinations

Were these detainees arrested locally? Where did those that ended up being transferred from the Roanoke City Jail last year originate? Information on the place of arrest was not included in the available data ICE released. However, we can examine whether the Roanoke City Jail was the first ICE facility in which these detainees were held. According to ICE records, for all these detainees, the Roanoke City Jail was the first place they were sent when they were detained by ICE.

How soon did transfers occur? Nationally, the median number of days before an ICE detainee is transferred to another facility was 1 days last year. That means that half of all transfers occurred on or before the 1st day, while half had longer stays before they were transferred on to another ICE facility. Note that nationally the average stay at an ICE detention facility before an individual is transferred is longer - 12 days. This is because while most detainees have relatively short stays before ICE transfers them elsewhere, sometimes stays are lengthy and these lengthy stays raise the average to above the median stay.

For the Roanoke City Jail last year, the median stay before a detainee was transferred was 2 days. This is longer than the national figure. The average stay before transfers occurred was the same - 2 days - than the median stay. As noted above, this figure placed the facility in the top 58 percent among ICE detention facilities nationwide in the average number of days a detainee spent before he or she was transferred.

Pie chart of diffDCO

Figure 2: Transfer destinations during last 12 months

Where did those transferred get sent? ICE currently has great discretion about where in the United States transferred detainees are sent. For the period covered by these data, ICE divided the country into geographic regions or areas and assigned each to one of 152 document control offices or DCOs for the purpose of keeping track of detainees. Available data allow us to examine whether the transfer occurred within the same DCO or the transfer was to a different DCO. For the nation as a whole during the latest 12 months, 54 percent were within the same DCO, while the remaining 46 percent were to a different DCO.

Transfers Facility Profile U.S Overall
Profile (%)
Number Percent
Within region (DCO) 108 81% 54%
Outside region (DCO) 26 19% 46%
Total 134 100% 100%

Table 3: Transfer destinations during last 12 months

Figure 2 and accompanying Table 3 provide some comparative figures for how the Roanoke City Jail stacks up against this national pattern. Last year, 81 percent of the transfers from the Roanoke City Jail were to locations in the same region -- facilities under the control of same ICE docket control office. Only some (19 percent) of the transfers went to detention facilities in a different region (DCO).


Which nationalities predominate? Last year in the United States, individuals from Mexico comprised the largest number of those transferred by ICE. Some 41.3 percent of all transfers recorded Mexico as their country of origin. The Roanoke City Jail had a large proportion of detainees from Mexico - 63 percent - among their transfers. Detainees from Mexico were also the largest single nationality group among the transfers at the facility.

Pie chart of nat

Figure 3: Transfers by nationality

In descending order, the top nationalities that made up transfers from the Roanoke City Jail last year were: Mexico (63%) , Honduras (17%), Guatemala (6%), El Salvador (4%), Cuba (1%) and Jamaica (1%).

For the frequency for each of the nationalities among transfers from the Roanoke City Jail last year see Table 4.

Nationalities Ranked in Top 10 Transfers
Total To Diff. DCO % Diff DCO
- ALL 134 26 19.4 %
1 Mexico 85 12 14.1 %
2 Honduras 23 10 43.5 %
3 Guatemala 8 1 12.5 %
4 El Salvador 5 2 40.0 %
5 Cuba 2 0 0.0 %
Jamaica 2 0 0.0 %
7 Belize 1 0 0.0 %
Burundi 1 0 0.0 %
Dominican Republic 1 0 0.0 %
Haiti 1 1 100.0 %
India 1 0 0.0 %
Jordan 1 0 0.0 %
Liberia 1 0 0.0 %
Peru 1 0 0.0 %
Rwanda 1 0 0.0 %

Table 4: Transfers by nationality
during the last 12 months

Out-of-region transfers by nationality. Within the nationalities that made up those listed in Table 4, the proportion transferred out of the region varied from 0 percent to 100 percent. As mentioned above, on average 19 percent of detainees transferred from the Roanoke City Jail were sent to detention locations outside the region.

For Haiti with a total of 1 transfers, all transfers were out-of-region transfers. More than one country was tied with the lowest out-of-region transfer rates (see Table 4).

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