Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Immigrants in detention facilities around the United States are often subjected to punitive and long-term solitary confinement and denied meaningful avenues of appeal, according to an investigation by two human rights groups. Investigators with Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) surveyed conditions in more than a dozen detention centers and county jails that contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Their report, Invisible in Isolation: The Use of Segregation and Solitary Confinement in Immigration Detention, is the first comprehensive examination of the effects of solitary confinement on immigration detainees.While the harm caused by solitary confinement to inmates in prisons and jails has been well documented, the new report shows that solitary confinement of immigrants in detention is often arbitrarily applied, inadequately monitored, harmful to their health, and a violation of their due process rights. In the report, NIJC and PHR call on ICE and Congress to end solitary confinement in immigration detention, severely limit other forms of segregation, and implement stricter oversight of the detention system.