May 16, 2012
Findings raise serious concerns about violations of detainees’ human and constitutional rights
ATLANTA – The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Georgia today released a comprehensive report on conditions of detention for immigrants in Georgia titled: “Prisoners of Profit: Immigrants and Detention in Georgia.” The report covers the four immigration detention facilities in Georgia, which include the largest immigration detention center in the country, the Stewart Detention Center, as well as the North Georgia Detention Center, Irwin County Detention Center, and Atlanta City Detention Center. Three of the facilities are operated by corporations.
For purposes of this documentation project, the ACLU of Georgia interviewed 68 individuals who were detained in Georgia immigration detention facilities, as well as detainees’ family members and immigration attorneys. The ACLU of Georgia also toured detention centers in Georgia and reviewed documents obtained from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other governmental agencies.
“This report documents serious abuses in Georgia detention centers requiring immediate action,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Georgia. “The conditions documented by the ACLU of Georgia violate detainees’ constitutional and human rights as well as ICE standards.”
Findings raise serious concerns about violations of detainees’ due process rights, inadequate living conditions, inadequate medical and mental health care, and abuse of power by those in charge.
The report recommends that ICE stop detaining immigrants at the for-profit Stewart and Irwin County Detention Centers given the extent of the documented violations as well as the facilities’ remote locations which isolate detainees from their families and communities of support. The report also contains recommendations for improving conditions of detention for immigrants at the Atlanta City Detention Center, including providing outdoor recreation to detainees, and at the North Georgia Detention Center, including paying minimum wage to detainees who choose to enroll in the voluntary work program.
“The findings of the report confirm the problems inherent to detention of immigrants in privately-run, for-profit detention centers,” said Shahshahani. “There is deep-seated tension between the profit-making aims of prison corporations and the American values of justice and liberty –humane conditions for those detained and release of immigrants who pose no danger or flight risk.”
The report can be viewed here: http://www.acluga.org/files/2713/3788/2900/Prisoners_of_Profit.pdf
An updated fact sheet on immigration detention titled “Securely Insecure: The Real Costs, Consequences & Human Face of Immigration Detention” can be viewed here.