State Attorney General’s report draws attention to abuses at Theo Lacy

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The California Department of Justice launched an important report late ultimate month on the abusive conditions inside the state’s immigrant jails and prisons, along with these in Orange County.

It is the first report of its type, mandated beneath Assembly Bill 103, a regulation that we at Freedom for Immigrants consulted on that provides the state Attorney General the power and sources to monitor immigrant jails and prisons over the next 10 years. The report is properly timed as a result of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments in United States v. California this week, by which the Trump administration is suing California over three state authorized tips that defend immigrants’ rights, along with the oversight provision in AB 103.

We knew that AB 103 was wished because of, for years, Freedom for Immigrants and totally different advocacy groups have witnessed the struggling of a whole lot of immigrants locked up in a system that lacks vital oversight and transparency.

With the Attorney General’s in depth report, we now have extra proof from an unbiased state monitor, exhibiting that California’s immigrant jails and prisons are rife with abuse. And these systemic human and civil rights violations are happening correct proper right here in Orange County.

The Attorney General’s office comprehensively reviewed three of the state’s immigrant jails, amongst them Theo Lacy Facility, which is operated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office has had an intergovernmental service settlement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain asylum seekers and longtime immigrants since 2010. During its investigation, the Attorney General documented the misuse of solitary confinement, misconduct by jail officers, and use of strain amongst a myriad of various points at Theo Lacy.

The report unequivocally states that “Theo Lacy’s use of disciplinary segregation for minor offenses is alarming.” In fact, by the Attorney General’s site go to, his office encountered the case of an individual who was thrown into solitary confinement for 30 days with out exterior recreation. The trigger for his confinement, “disrespect to staff,” did not warrant solitary confinement beneath ICE’s nationwide detention necessities. Although the OC Sheriff’s Office was in violation of the federal necessities, it has confronted no repercussions from ICE.

This man’s case was not isolated; as a result of the state report found, it is a pattern at Theo Lacy, one which might not be ignored.

Detention is already a restrictive setting. Subjecting a person to full isolation is not going to be solely punitive, however moreover can have devastating bodily and psychological properly being penalties.

Detained folks moreover reported being subjected to mistreatment by deputies. The report states that immigrants in detention always reported being mocked over their appearances or for not understanding English, yelled at or subjected to profane language, as well as to roughed up by the deputies.

This is all in line with what we’ve been documenting for years.

In 2015, we filed a grievance with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Inspector General and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties detailing numerous incidents of bodily assault and totally different human rights violations at Theo Lacy.

One of the detained individuals who bravely obtained right here forward once more then was Jose Gudiño. He knowledgeable us how he was strolling once more from the cafeteria when a deputy confronted him, accusing him of stashing meals beneath his garments. The deputy proceeded to beat him up and ended by threatening him, telling him not to file a grievance. Afterward, Mr. Gudiño was unable to stroll for a month.

The state report provides numerous associated tales of deputies behaving brutally, as reported by detained folks, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra stated that his office would proceed to study.

Unfortunately, oversight, whereas essential, isn’t enough.

There have been numerous totally different newest tales detailing the deplorable conditions in Theo Lacy and totally different Orange County jails, along with by the DHS Office of the Inspector General and the American Civil Liberties Union.

It’s time to switch previous oversight and take movement.

There desires to be accountability. Otherwise ICE and the OC Sheriff’s office will proceed to act with impunity at the expense of tons of of immigrants in Orange County who’re pressured into cages merely to await their approved proceedings. We ought to put an end to this method that weaponizes our taxpayer money to gasoline a convention of violence.

This report ought to spark the beginning of a much bigger dialog in Orange County and the state of California about what we are going to do to end the mass incarceration of immigrants so not one other specific particular person is subjected to such abuse in our yard with our tax .

Christina Fialho is an authorized skilled and the Co-Founder/Executive Director of Freedom for Immigrants, a California-based nonprofit working to abolish immigration detention.

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