“If They Really Want To Floss Their Teeth They Can Use A Sock String.” Report Grants Rare Glimpse at the Abhorrent Conditions at ICE Detention Centers.
The Trump administration has increased its efforts to incarcerate immigrants that he plans to deport. The numbers are so overwhelming that some of the detention facilities are unable to provide basic care for its detainees.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) overseas 180 facilities, many operated by private contractors, to house people charged with immigration violations. It’s important to note that not all these people have any criminal history or convictions in his or her background.
Inspecting an ICE Detention Facility
On October 2, 2018, USA Today reported that federal inspectors conducted an unannounced visit at the Adelanto ICE facility in California. The Adelanto ICE facility is overseen by ICE but operated by a private prison contractor company. There have been three immigrants that have died at Adelanto since 2015. Seven immigrants attempted suicide between December 2016 and October 2017.
The report indicated that the Adelanto facility disregarded federal regulations governing the treatment of inmates. It would only do cursory checks of the inmates’ health and in some cases violated the law as required for inmate care.
Under federal regulations ICE is required to have medical staff conduct face-to-face medical assessments of each detainee held in segregation every day. But during federal inspectors visit, the inspectors saw doctors simply walking past most cells, peeking inside, and stamping his or her name to the detainee record hanging outside each cell “indicating that they visited with the detainee.”
In one case, the inspectors realized that an inmate had been sitting in a wheelchair in a cell for nine days without once being lifted to sleep in the bed or brush his teeth. The inspectors noticed this because the detainees original bedding and toiletries were still in the original bag from his arrival.
The Health and Hygiene of Detainees
The inspectors also questioned the dental care being received by inmates. ICE requires that facilities provide detainees a dental exam within six months of being detained. But the inspection found that two dentists at Adelanto have not conducted a cleaning or filled a single cavity in nearly 4 years!
One of the dentists said that he only provided “palliative care” because he didn’t have time to do complete cleanings and fillings. He said fillings aren’t necessary if inmates maintain a strict regimen of brushing and flossing. When told that dental floss must be purchased by the inmates, the dentist suggested “detainees could use a string from their socks to floss if they were
dedicated to dental hygiene.”
If this administration is going to detain individuals that may be otherwise eligible to be released on an immigration bond that it must safely care for those in its facilities.
You can challenge an ICE detention. If you have a loved one that is in ICE detention it always makes sense to have an immigration attorney evaluate whether he or she is eligible to be released on an immigration bond. In practice, detainees may wait months in these abhorrent conditions prior to even seeing an immigration judge.
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