Inadequate medical care, improper segregation and even nooses found in cells are among "serious issues" found in a surprise inspection at the largest detention site for immigrants in California.
The US Department of Homeland Security released Tuesday the results of a visit by the Office of the Inspector General to the detention site in Adelanto, California.
The site, located some 90 miles (150 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles, holds 1,940 male and female adult immigrants. It is managed by The Geo Group, a government contractor that runs privately run prisons and detention sites.
"We identified a number of serious issues" that violate Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) standards that "pose significant health and safety risks at the facility," said the report, dated September 27.
Inspectors found nooses made from braided bed sheets hanging from air vents in 15 of 20 cells for male detainees.
The report said that in March 2017, a 32-year-old man choked himself to death with sheets in his cell, and that seven suicide attempts were reported between December 2016 and July 2017.
"ICE's lack of response to address this matter at the Adelanto Center shows a disregard for detainee health and safety," the report said.
And the pervasive suicide attempts are not always successful.
"I've seen a few attempted suicides using the braided sheets by the vents and then the guards laugh at them and call them 'suicide failures' once they are back from medical," an unidentified detainee was quoted as telling the investigators.
The report warned that "ICE must prioritize addressing the issue of sheets hanging in detainee cells, as they represent the potential to assist suicide acts."
- Nine days in a wheelchair -
The report also noted mistakes in segregating detainees for disciplinary or administrative reasons.
In one case, a disabled detainee was mistakenly held in disciplinary segregation for nine days, during which time he "never left his wheelchair to sleep in a bed or brush his teeth."
Such violations of segregation standards "pose a significant threat to maintaining detainee rights and ensuring their mental and physical well-being."
The inspectors also saw contract guards move detainees in handcuffs and shackles, contravening ICE regulations.
The physical restraints gives "the appearance of criminal, rather than civil, custody."
The report also noted the lack of proper medical and dental care.
Detainees frequently wait for weeks and even months to see a doctor or a dentist, and often the appointments are canceled with no explanation.
One detainee reported waiting eight months to have a tooth pulled, while another said the dentist pulled the wrong tooth.
Attached to the report was a letter from ICE saying that it will inspect the Adelanto site starting October 18 "to ensure corrective actions are completed."
"Any compliance issues found during such reviews must be promptly addressed," said ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley.
"ICE takes seriously the OIG's findings, and has agreed to conduct a full and immediate review of the center to ensure compliance with detention standards and expedite necessary corrective actions."
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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