Lawmakers Worry About ICE Abusing Solitary Confinement In California

“A review of your records shows that you were directly involved in the fraud incident,” GEO staff wrote in a report addressing Mousa’s complaint. “Furthermore, you have consistently attempted to interfere with the orderly operation of the facility, as you have rightly asserted, ‘I have been known to stand up for my rights,’ which is unacceptable. not.”

An ICE spokesman said authorities would not disclose details of individual disciplinary actions and would not comment on allegations made by Mousa or other detainees.

“ICE fully respects the right of all people to express their views without interference, including through peaceful assemblies and protests,” an ICE spokesperson said in a statement. but declined to comment on why authorities believe detainees are inciting or engaging in demonstrations.High crime.

Quarantine ‘only if necessary’, but evidence suggests otherwise

According to ICE, isolating detainees is a “grave step” and should be used only when necessary, following official guidelines and after careful consideration of alternatives.

Detainees may be separated from others for a variety of “administrative” reasons, including disciplinary reasons, health problems, the detainee’s own safety, and the orderly operation of the facility. .

Disciplinary separation is limited to 30 days. But immigration advocates say the agency’s guidelines don’t clearly state restrictions on administrative types, which leads to abuse.

ICE did not immediately respond to KQED’s request regarding the number of detainees currently held in solitary confinement. Between 2013 and 2019, authorities documented approximately 13,800 quarantine placements nationwide. This lasted for more than 14 consecutive days or involved vulnerable detainees, such as those with mental illness, those who identified as gay, or those on hunger strike.

Official observers have found the figure could be higher as ICE completely ignores the use of isolation in more than 200 detention centers across the country. Facilities owned or operated by commercial companies such as GEO house the largest number of immigrant detainees in the United States.

The lack of comprehensive quarantine data is hampering the agency’s “ability to ensure policy compliance and prevent and detect potential quarantine misuse,” according to a report released last fall by the Department of Homeland Security. There is

For example, the inspector general found no evidence that detention centers had considered alternative means of isolating detainees in 72% of the cases they investigated. The OIG found two detainees to have been in isolation for more than 300 days of her during an unannounced inspection of a private detention center in Calexico, east of San Diego.

reaching out of a cell to use a payphone in a detention center
An immigrant detainee calls from an isolation cell at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in California, operated by GEO Group. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Caitlin Patler, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis, said she fears there will be no more federal oversight.

“It is very likely that individual rights have been violated by being placed in these highly punitive environments,” said Patler, who has seen thousands of ICE solitary confinement cases. We analyzed them and found that they were more likely to occur in private facilities.

ICE officials have agreed to changes recommended by the OIG to improve agency oversight of segregation, including requiring facilities to track all cases.

The agency had promised to implement the recommendations by August 31 before requesting an extension. The new due date is October 31, according to an OIG spokesperson.

ICE declined to comment on why the extension was necessary. However, the agency’s chief financial officer, Stephen Roncone, noted that while the agency seeks to ensure compliance with regulations, the size of ICE’s network of facilities can present reporting challenges. Admitted.

“The goal of the ICE detention standards is to ensure that detainees are treated humanely … and that they receive the rights and protections they receive,” Roncone told the OIG report to the agency. I wrote in the answer to

State bill limits use of solitary confinement cells

That’s because the California Senate is considering AB 2632, also known as the California Mandela Act, in connection with UN rules prohibiting indefinite or prolonged solitary confinement beyond 15 days.

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