A surprise government inspection of the immigrant detention center in Adelanto, California run by a private prison company, GEO Group, revealed cruel, nightmarish conditions for detainees. A report released today by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) detailed blatant violations of regulations for housing detainees. Among other problems, GEO routinely denied detainees necessary medical and dental care; placed detainees in segregation without due process; and permitted detainees to keep cloth “nooses” that create an increased risk for suicide.
Some of the examples in the OIG report bordered on the macabre: a disabled detainee wrongly put in detention and not helped out of his wheelchair even to get into a bed for nine days; detainees waiting months and even years for a dental appointment, sometimes resulting in teeth falling out themselves; a detainee finally getting an appointment only to have the wrong tooth pulled. A staff dentist, confronted with the fact that dental floss was not readily available in the center suggested to inspectors that “detainees could use string from their socks to floss,” the report said.
Please attribute the following statement to Michael Kaufman, Sullivan & Cromwell Access to Justice Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU Foundation of Southern California
“ICE has ignored the ACLU’s repeated complaints about abuse and neglect at Adelanto. The OIG’s disturbing report reveal that GEO and ICE officials continue to disregard immigration detainees’ well-being, often with tragic consequences. It is long-past time for ICE to do what the Constitution and basic humanitarian principles require: to ensure the safety and welfare of immigrants incarcerated at Adelanto.”
In 2015, the ACLU and other advocacy organizations submitted a complaint to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about substandard medical care at Adelanto that had led to at least one death at the facility, and placed countless others in harm’s way. Despite outcry from Congressional members and other stakeholders, ICE and GEO took no meaningful steps to address the problems at the facility.
The Office of Inspector General report on conditions at Adelanto center is at https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2018-10/OIG-18-86-Sep18.pdf