Inspectors Report Poor Conditions at Privately-Run Immigration Detention Facility

Inspectors Report Poor Conditions at Privately-Run Immigration Detention Facility

September 28, 2018 12:08 pm

The United States Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General issued a report on September 27, 2018, following a surprise inspection of a privately-run immigration detention facility in Adelanto, California.

The detention facility in Adelanto, California is owned and operated by the GEO Group, and houses up to 1,940 immigration detainees pursuant to an Intergovernmental Service Agreement. The OIG report identifies three areas of concern, specifically 1) nooses located in detainee cells, 2) improper and overly restrictive segregation, and 3) untimely and inadequate detainee medical care.

The report noted that in 15 of the approximately 20 cells inspected, the OIG located nooses created from braided bedsheets. According to the report,

ICE has not taken seriously the recurring problem of detainees hanging bedsheet nooses at the Adelanto Center; this deficiency violates ICE standards. According to the guard escorting us, the nooses are a daily issue and very widespread. . . . According to a senior ICE official, however, local ICE management at Adelanto does not believe it is necessary or a priority to address the braided sheets issue.

The OIG notes “the issue of sheets hanging in detainee cells . . . represent[s] the potential to assist suicide acts,” which is of particular concern because reports have identified “at least seven suicide attempts at the Adelanto Center from December 2016 to October 2017.”

The report also identifies a number of issues related to the improper and overly restrictive of the Adelanto facility’s civil detainees. For example, “[t]he GEO Group segregation supervisor and guards said they place all detainees held in disciplinary segregation in restraints when outside their cells.” However, “Physically restraining all disciplinary segregation detainees whenever they are outside their cells does not comport with ICE standards and gives the appearance of criminal, rather than civil, custody.”

Finally, the OIG noted “detainees do not have timely access to proper medical care,” noting “detainees are placed on waitlists for months and, sometimes, years to receive basic dental care, resulting in tooth loss and unnecessary extractions in some cases.”