Homeland Security Watchdog Blasts ICE for Solitary Confinement Abuses

Homeland Security Watchdog Blasts ICE for Solitary Confinement Abuses Homeland Security Watchdog Blasts ICE for Solitary Confinement Abuses (Getty Images)

Thursday, 17 December 2020 05:39 PM

A draft report from a Homeland Security watchdog office found nearly a dozen immigrants arrested by ICE agents were reportedly kept in solitary for more than two months — including two who were isolated for more than 300 days.

In a draft Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s report that BuzzFeed News reported it had obtained, a February inspection of the Imperial Regional Detention Facility in Calexico, Calif., also found expired and moldy food.

According to BuzzFeed News, officials at the detention facility were using solitary confinement as a long term “solution” for immigrants in “protective custody,” or those who need special supervision or housing due to safety risks.

“During our inspection, we identified serious violations regarding the administrative segregation of detainees at [Imperial Regional Detention Facility],” the report states, BuzzFeed News reported.

“Specifically, IRDF was using administrative segregation as a long-term solution for detainees in protective custody and overly restricted detainees by not offering privileges similar to those offered to detainees in general housing units.”

In addition to finding 11 immigrants had been kept in solitary confinement for more than 60 days, and two others for more than 300 days, inspectors said there’d been no documented review to evaluate the continued solitary confinement, and detainees weren’t given an hour recreation time daily as required.

The inspectors also said the detainees received inadequate medical checks.

ICE officials denied the accusations, BuzzFeed News reported.

The report found other problems, including with the way the facility was storing food.

The inspectors reported finding expired frozen tortillas, turkey bologna, and moldy zucchini in the food preparation and storage area. The facility’s officials said that they had not marked frozen food and produce packages with expiration dates.

“We are firmly committed to prioritizing the health, safety, and welfare of all of those in our care and custody,” Greg Archambeault, a lead ICE official in the region, told BuzzFeed News.

“We have reviewed OIGs recommendations and attribute meeting compliance standards regarding detainee classification at IRDF to the dedication of the officers at the facility. We concur with the OIGs additional recommendations and have taken corrective action where appropriate to ensure our continued compliance with PBNDS [Performance Based National Detention Standards].”