Friday, October 7, 2011
A report issued today by Human Rights First reveals that despite a 2009 commitment to overhaul the immigration detention system, the United States continues to hold the overwhelming majority of its nearly 400,000 detained asylum seekers and other civil immigration law detainees in jails and jail-like facilities across the country. The facilities are expected to cost American taxpayers more than $2 billion in 2012. The report, “Jails and Jumpsuits: Transforming the U.S. Immigration Detention System – A Two-Year Review,” notes that former prison officials and other corrections experts have found that less penal conditions in detention can actually help improve safety inside a facility, a finding echoed in multiple studies. It outlines steps that the administration should take to end its reliance on facilities with conditions that are inappropriate for asylum seekers and other civil immigration law detainees, and to bring U.S. detention practices into compliance with international human rights standards.