USA Inspectors Cite Problems with ICE Prisons

After an 18-month study (ending Jan. 2006) of five prisons used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in California, Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, , the Homeland Security Office of Inspector General released the following summary on Dec. 22, 2006:

Regarding health care standards, we identified instances of non-compliance at four of the
five detention facilities, including timely initial and responsive medical care [including improper treament of hunger strikers in seven of eight instances; insufficient monitoring of prisoners on suicide watch in five out of 36 instances.]

Also, we identified environmental health and safety concerns at three of five detention facilities reviewed [including undercooked poultry two weeks after inspectors ordered the problem fixed; and when inspectors asked ICE to provide ladders and safety bars to prevent injuries from prisoners falling from top bunks, ICE replied that it wasn’t required and would be too expensive.]

We identified instances of non-compliance with ICE Detention Standards regarding general conditions
of confinement at the five facilities, including disciplinary policy, classifying detainees, and
housing together detainees classified at different security levels [for some prisoners ICE had no files to show; and generally, on laundry day, prisoners usually sat around in their underwear for two-to-six hours while clothes were washed.]

Two facilities also had inadequate inventory controls over detainee funds and personal property.

We further noted that the ICE Detention Standard on Detainee Grievance Procedures does not provide a process for detainees to report abuse or civil rights violations.

In addition, two detention facilities did not issue handbooks specifically addressing detainee’s rights, responsibilities, and rules; and three facilities did not translate handbooks and orientation material into Spanish and other prevalent languages. See Treatment of Immigration Detainees Housed at Immigration and Customs Enforcement Facilities [OIG_07-01_Dec06.pdf]

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