Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Warmer and Fuzzier Immigration Detention Facilities?

Michelle Roberts writes for the Associated Press:

In an agreement U.S. immigration officials hope will begin to reshape the entire 30,000-bed detention system, some asylum-seekers and immigrants awaiting deportation proceedings could soon be held in facilities where they can wear their own clothes, participate in movie and bingo nights, eat continental breakfasts, and celebrate holidays with visiting family members.

It could end confinement in prison-like facilities — complete with razor wire, jail-style uniforms, armed guards and partitions that prevent physical contact with loved ones — for those who have never been convicted of a crime and are not considered a threat.

Corrections Corporation of America, the largest contractor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has reached a preliminary agreement to soften confinement, free of charge, at nine immigrant facilities covering more than 7,100 beds — a deal that ICE officials see as a precursor to changes elsewhere.

Overall, the facilities are expected to be less prison-like, offering freer movement for detainees, fewer pat downs and better access to legal resources. The agreement calls for fresh vegetables and access to self-serve beverages along with cooking and exercise classes, according to a list released by ICE. Click here for the rest of the story.

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