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Massachusetts law (M.G.L. c. 276, Section 33A) states that every person arrested in Massachusetts has the right to make phone calls from the police station or jail.

Such calls must be made at the arrestee’s own expense and only for the following reasons:

  • to communicate with family or friends,
  • to arrange for release on bail, or
  • to seek legal advice from an attorney.

The police or correctional officers detaining the arrestee must promptly notify him or her that calls are permitted for those reason. Additionally, the arrestee must be permitted to use the facility’s phone within one hour of his or her arrival.

The full text of the statute reads as follows:

The police official in charge of the station or other place of detention having a telephone wherein a person is held in custody, shall permit the use of the telephone, at the expense of the arrested person, for the purpose of allowing the arrested person to communicate with his family or friends, or to arrange for release on bail, or to engage the services of an attorney. Any such person shall be informed forthwith upon his arrival at such station or place of detention, of his right to so use the telephone, and such use shall be permitted within one hour thereafter.

M.G.L. c. 276, Section 33A