The immigration detention system in the United States has grown drastically over the last 15 years and the appalling conditions in the detention centers that house immigrants have reached a tipping point.
President Obama made promises to reform this inhumane system in 2009, and while there were some efforts to improve the system, the reality on the ground has not changed. Now, conditions at 10 of the worst jails and prisons that house immigrants have gotten so bad, the only option is to begin shutting them down.
Tomorrow, Thursday November 15th, national and local leaders from the Detention Watch Network (http://detentionwatchnetwork.org/) will release a series of reports titled, "Expose and Close," to reveal the widespread pattern of mistreatment at ten of the worst immigrant prisons across the country. Speakers will call on President Obama to close these detention centers and issue a list of reforms to ensure the safety, dignity and well-being of immigrants held in detention.
Among the report's findings:
--Roberto Medina-Martinez, a 39-year-old immigrant, died at Stewart in March 2009 of a treatable heart infection. An investigation conducted following his death revealed that the nursing staff failed to refer Mr. Medina for timely medical treatment and the facility physician failed to follow internal oversight procedures
--A man with serious emotional health problems in the Houston Processing Center in Texas was placed in solitary confinement for months at a time, a practice which the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has deemed torture.
--At Baker, Etowah and Pinal County Detention Centers and Jails, families are only able to visit with their loved ones in detention through video monitors after having driven hundreds of miles to see them.
--At the Pinal County Jail complaints regarding sanitation include receiving food on dirty trays, worms found in food, bugs and worms found in the faucets, receiving dirty laundry, and being overcrowded with ten other men in one cell and only one toilet.
In conjunction with Thursday's national launch, Detention Watch Network members around the country will be releasing their local reports in a coordinated effort to call for closure of these ten jails and prisons across the nation that exemplify some of the most appalling conditions of immigrant detention. These facilities include Etowah County Detention Center (AL), Pinal County Jail (AZ), Houston Processing Center (TX), Polk County Detention Facility (TX), Stewart Detention Center (GA), Irwin County Jail (GA), Hudson County Jail (NJ), Theo Lacy Detention Center (CA), Tri-County Detention Center (IL), and Baker County Jail (FL).
Please stay tuned.
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