Daniel Zwerdling’s reporting revealed the abuses that some immigrant detainees were subjected to in federal prisons and local jails. A new study by the Government Accountability Office takes Zwerdling’s reporting one step further: not only are immigrant detainees being abused and mistreated, they are being prevented from pleading their cases due to a lack of access to phones and counsel, and some are even being denied medical care.
A recent article in THE NEW YORK TIMES reports that key parts of the detainee system are stretched beyond capacity and inmates are being sent to facilities in other states in order to relieve overcrowding. Moving inmates to another state, however, “puts stress on tenuous family bonds” making visits by family members and counsel they may try to provide much more difficult; THE NEW YORK TIMES article further argues that moves to other facilities may be “inhibiting the ability of inmates to receive health care.”
The increase in prison populations is due not only to bolstered border patrols but, as Zwerdling pointed out in his reporting, to renewed enforcement of a decade-old statute in immigration law which allows the government to indefinitely detain immigrants, even those in the country legally, if they’ve ever committed a crime, no matter how trivial.