WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) sent a joint letter signed by the Arizona U.S. House Congressional Democratic delegation to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Tae Johnson calling for a comprehensive investigation into conditions and treatment of incarcerated individuals at La Palma Correctional Facility. The letter was co-signed by Reps. Greg Stanton (AZ-09), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02) and Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01).
A year after the release of a DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) report detailing the mistreatment and abuse of inmates, the Members remain concerned that detainees continue to be deprived of their rights.
The Members highlighted two areas of concern requiring immediate attention including access to critical services and care for segregated individuals and medical care access and solitary confinement practices. Their call for an investigation comes as the state of Arizona is set to increase its prison budget and transfer additional inmates to La Palma:
“This is a timely investigation as Governor Ducey recently announced a contract to transfer individuals to La Palma under the care of CoreCivic, a private prison company. Arizona is set to transfer 2,706 individuals. It is imperative that La Palma rectifies its detention standard violations before accepting an influx of individuals that may be susceptible to the same mistreatment and denied critical care and services. For those reasons, we ask that you conduct a full investigation and work in good faith to implement the recommendations outlined by the OIG report that remain unresolved.”
The full letter can be found here.
Following the 2021 OIG report, Rep. Grijalva released a statement condemning conditions at La Palma.
On February 10, Rep. Grijalva sent a letter to Governor Ducey regarding the massive increase to Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry (ADCRR) despite the state having the lowest prison population in a decade and the lack of oversight, transparency and accountability within ADCRR and its private prison affiliates.
Since 2015, Rep. Grijalva has introduced the Justice is Not For Sale Act, a bill that will bar federal, state, and local governments from contracting with private prisons and immigration detention centers.
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