TUCSON— Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva issued the following statement after the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general conducted a systemic review of ICE’s use of solitary confinement.
“While I am not shocked by the findings of this report, I am sickened that this inhumane practice continues to be so widely abused by ICE and other enforcement agencies across our government. Forcing individuals to be confined to cramped spaces for upwards of twenty-three hours a day and in the most egregious cases being held for over 300 days, is the epitome of torture and completely inexcusable. It is also inexcusable that in more than 72% of cases, ICE did not comply with its own policies and seek an alternative to solitary confinement. The misuse of solitary confinement can cause irreparable damage to individuals, especially vulnerable populations that include disabled individuals, survivors of torture and domestic violence.
As the report outlines, ‘Without adequate oversight, clear policies, and comprehensive data, ICE does not know the full extent of detention facilities’ use of segregation, which hinders its ability to ensure compliance with policy, and prevent and detect potential misuse of segregation.’
The U.S.’ overreliance on incarceration must end. We must terminate federal contracts with private companies and ban immigration detention centers. As this report has clearly demonstrated, ICE is left to operate with minimal accountability and individuals who have serious allegations are left with no redress which is wholly unacceptable. The Department of Homeland Security must put an end to the use of solitary confinement and hold ICE accountable for these abuses.”
First introduced in 2015, Rep. Grijalva is the author of the Justice is Not For Sale Act, a bill that will bar federal, state, and local governments from contracting with private prisons and detention centers. The bill also increases oversight of companies overcharging inmates and their families for banking and telephone calls and ends the use of family detention centers in favor of community-based and community-supported case management programs operated by nonprofit organizations.