Detained Immigrants Suffer Solitary Confinement
Investigations by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) found that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been utilizing solitary confinement to manage and punish detainees under its custody. ICIJ obtained these incident reports through a public records request.
The ICIJ apparently reviewed 8,400 reports documenting solitary confinement to punish immigrants for minor offenses. According to the reports, ICE has used solitary confinement against detainees who have gone on hunger strikes to protest detention, those who are transgender, gay, or lesbian, and even the disabled or mentally ill. A policy advisor at the Department of Homeland Security recently came across several reports of solitary confinement of detainees. She publicly revealed her story recently for the first time. The ICIJ’s findings were consistent with the advisor’s findings.
A United Nations special rapporteur on torture stated that solitary confinement should be banned and allowed only for extreme circumstances and that isolation of more than 15 days constitutes inhumane treatment. According to ICE’s own standards, isolation should be used under careful consideration of alternatives. However, the ICIJ report indicates that ICE has been resorting to solitary confinement as the primary means of punishing detainees for their offenses.
Several detainees with mental illnesses have been relegated to solitary confinement, making their illnesses even more serious. Many detainees in solitary confinement have attempted suicide and reported self-inflicted wounds, such as cutting of their wrists, gouging their eyes, and smearing feces all over their cells. Even those detainees who are not mentally ill that have been in solitary confinement are suffering. The reports indicated that these detainees are experiencing hallucinations, sleeplessness, depression, memory loss, bouts of anger, and suicidal thoughts.
ICE Claims Prevention of Harm to Others
Solitary confinement is known to be used against prisoners. However, in a civil context, such as immigration detention, it is suspect. However, in a statement issued by ICE, the agency argues that its policy of segregation is to prevent the detainee from harming others, such as other detainees, staff, volunteers, and contractors.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Advocate for Detained Immigrants
Do not hesitate to contact the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. if you are facing deportation and removal. Our attorneys have considerable experience in providing legal counsel and representation for immigrants. Contact our office at 215-496-0690 or contact us online for a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.