Bridgewater State Hospital

Bridgewater State Hospital is a Level IV, medium-security prison facility that houses the criminally insane and is managed by Wellpath medical services. It houses civil commitments without criminal sentences, and on occasion, pre-trial detainees sent for competency and criminal responsibility evaluations by the court. The capacity of this facility is 227, but it consistently houses as many as 300 inmates. The majority of inmates at Bridgewater stay between six months and one year.

Located in southeastern Massachusetts, this facility was originally built in 1855 and was used as a workhouse for inmates with short sentences. It was rebuilt in the 1880s and again in 1974, and it was the subject of the infamous documentary Titicut Follies.

The 1967 documentary attempted to highlight cases of patient mistreatment at Bridgewater, and the name of the movie comes from the annual talent show performed by the inmates. Filmmaker Frederick Wiseman observed the facility for 29 days and depicted the harsh treatment of the inmates by the officers, as well as the lack of proper treatment by doctors.

The negative history of this facility features inmates who were committed illegally, inmates who stayed long past their sentence, and inmates who were stuck in the facility because they didn’t have the legal help or finances to get released.

In 1967, a legislative committee investigated allegations of “cruel, inhuman, and barbarous treatment.” Problems with the water and sewage systems, insufficient medical care, and a subpar kitchen to prepare meals were cited in the investigation. As a result, the segregation unit at Bridgewater was closed because it wasn’t suitable. 

After numerous reports by major media outlets showcased the harsh treatment of inmates, Governor Charlie Baker announced in 2016 that the hospital would transition from a historic prison model to a more clinical approach of treating the mentally ill. The new approach included creating individualized treatment plans for each inmate within 10 days of their arrival at the facility.

In 2017, Governor Baker replaced hospital management and 80 percent of the staff, and he also granted additional funding to the facility. He also closed the “intensive treatment” unit where inmates were restrained in solitary confinement. After the changes were implemented, the Boston Globe reported that the new facility felt more like a hospital instead of a prison.

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Bridgewater State Hospital

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at Bridgewater State Hospital are:

  • Sunday:                        8:00 am-4:00 pm
  • Monday - Tuesday:     1:00 pm-9:00 pm
  • Friday:                          1:00 pm-9:00 pm
  • Saturday:                     8:00 am-4:00 pm

General Visiting Rules

Family and friends are an important part of the patient’s treatment and rehabilitation process, and Wellpath strives to create a family-friendly environment and a family-centered approach to recovery to ensure comfortable and meaningful family experiences. 

Please consider the following as you plan to visit a loved one at BSH:  All visitors must be listed on the patient’s approved visitation list. All visitors must complete a Visitor Application.  

Applications can be found in the Visitor lobby or by clicking here. Please submit your completed Visitor Application to the Safety Office at least 48hrs in advance of your visit. You can do this by one of the following: 

  • Dropping the application off at the Front Control of the hospital 
  • Emailing completed application to [email protected] 
  • Mailing the application to: 

Attention: Safety Office
Bridgewater State Hospital
20 Administration Rd
Bridgewater, MA 02324

Wellpath supports healthy and safe family visits at BSH. With this said, children under 18 years old may visit a patient admitted to BSH if they are directly related to the patient (patient’s own child, child by marriage or domestic partnership, nephew or niece). Any child under 18 years old must be accompanied by the child’s parent or guardian and must provide a copy of the child’s birth certificate for entrance. All minor visits must be approved by the patient’s treatment team.

Visitation Meals

Families and approved visitors are permitted to order food to be eaten during visitation time. You must be an approved visitor in order to be approved to order meals. A visitor must be placed on a list of pre-approved family members in order to order food. 

This can be done by sending a request to [email protected] or calling 508-279-4511. You may order food from the following establishments: 

Bridgewater House of Pizza - 508 697-4862
Mee King Garden - 508-279-1228  

Meals can be arranged for any day of the week.  The order must be paid for before it arrives at BSH (i.e. by credit card via telephone).  You may only order food during the visit that you are participating in and may not order food to be sent for someone else.  Please use only your name and do not put the name of any patient on a food order as this is a violation of privacy and confidentiality.  

Orders cannot include any food with bones, beverages, chopsticks, glass, plastic or paper bags, or metal of any kind (including aluminum foil). Beverages may be purchased in the visitation room.  The delivery person will be instructed to leave approved food on top of the lockers in front lobby. 

Dress Code

  • Undergarments must be worn. 
  • Clothing shall not be ripped, torn, have holes or missing buttons. 
  • Visitors are expected to dress in accordance with standards of decency acceptable in a public place. 
  • Headwear is allowed only if pre-approved for religious purposes. 
  • No jewelry is to be worn except a traditional wedding ring and/or one religious medal on a chain will be allowed and a medical alert bracelet (if applicable).
  • No watches or wallets allowed. 
  • Sweaters may be worn. 
  • Hairpieces (i.e., toupees, wigs, extensions, weaves) may be worn but must be searched. It shall be the responsibility of the visitor to inform the officer that they are wearing a hairpiece during the search processing. 
  • Garments with elastic waists may be worn. 
  • Jackets or blazers may be worn as part of a suit or outfit by students participating in a clinical/internship program. 

The following items are NOT ALLOWED: 

  • Boots worn above the knee (exception – boots below the knee are permitted October 15–April 15)
  • Work boots
  • Bare feet
  • Bathing suits, shorts, any clothing with excessive pockets, metal, drawstrings, excessively baggy or tight clothing, hooded clothing, sheer, excessively revealing or transparent clothing, bodysuits of any type or wrap around shirts. (Children age 8 and younger may wear shorts)
  • With the exception of undergarments, spandex, or spandex type clothing is not allowed
  • Any clothing that displays a gang affiliation or is in any way attributable to gang culture; additionally, clothing that is obscene, racist, or displays sexual content
  • Any clothing similar to that issued to an inmate or uniformed personnel, to include nursing scrubs, police, postal and utility (Class A active military uniforms are allowed)
  • Fatigue or camouflage clothing
  • Double layered clothing on the bottom half of the person (e.g. two pairs of pants, or skirts and slacks)
  • Bibbed clothing of any type: shorts, dresses, pants, overalls, jumpers etc. (allowable for age 8 and younger)
  • Hair accessories that cannot be easily removed to be searched
  • Bobby pins, barrettes, and ribbons
  • Umbrellas, jackets, coats, vests, or outerwear of any type
  • Male visitors may not wear any type of blue or black jeans
  • Earrings, facial/body jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, and watches are not allowed. The only exception regarding jewelry is a traditional engagement ring/wedding band, religious medallion and medical alert jewelry
  • Dresses, skirts and skirt slits shall not exceed three inches above the knee when standing. No wrap-around style skirts are allowed unless worn for religious reasons
  • Tank tops, halter tops, muscle shirts, or clothing that reveals the midriff or excessively exposes the back. Tube tops of any type are not allowed. Sleeveless clothing is not allowed unless covered by an article of clothing, such as a sweater, that shall not be removed
  • Sweatshirts, sweatpants, wind pants, and exercise clothing (allowable for age 8 and younger)
  • Clothing with zippers that go the full length of the garment with the exception of outerwear (allowable for age 8 and younger)
  • T-shirts with offensive logos
  • Leg warmers
  • Hats and head coverings of any type, unless worn for religious or medical reasons; however they must be searched prior to entering the institution
  • No electronic communication devices (e.g., cell phones, electronic devices) or those capable of storing information are allowed.
  • No wearing or possession of any type of glitter make-up materials to include ChapStick or lip balms, facial make-up, nail polish, eye shadow etc.

Physical Address

Bridgewater State Hospital
20 Administration Road
Bridgewater, MA 02324

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number


Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name and DOC Number
Bridgewater State Hospital
20 Administration Road
Bridgewater, MA 02324

How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at the Bridgewater State Hospital, but they do have access to phones and are allowed to make monitored outgoing calls during approved hours. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Massachusetts, please click here.

How to Send Money

Access Corrections and Secure Deposits is the preferred method for those who wish to send money to inmates at Bridgewater State Hospital. 

Online: Sign up at Access Corrections online or download their Android or iOS app for your cell phone. Secure Deposits is the fastest, most convenient way to deposit funds into your loved one’s account with your Visa or MasterCard.

Phone: Call Access Corrections toll-free at 1-866-345-1884. Bilingual representatives are available 24/7.

In Person: There are two ways you may add money to an inmate’s account in person.

You may drop a check or money order off at the prison. Drop your check or money order into the box labelled "Inmate Funds" in the lobby. It should be made out to the inmate with the inmate's commitment number included.  Please note that all money orders over $200 and all personal checks are put on seven business day hold. 

Or you may visit Cash Pay Today online to enroll and find drop-off locations to make cash-only deposits near you. For more information, call 1-844-340-CASH (2274).

Programs For Inmates

Most of the programs at Bridgewater State Hospital are designed for mental health treatment. However, there is educational programming which includes:

  • Adult Basic Education
  • Language Education
  • Pre-G.E.D and G.E.D. prep courses
  • College and Advanced Academics
  • Special Education

Pictures of Bridgewater State Hospital

Careers at Bridgewater State Hospital

If you are interested in a career with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections at the Bridgewater State Hospital, you can find job listings by clicking here.