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Invisible in Isolation: The Use of Segregation and Solitary Confinement in Immigration Detention

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2012
43 pages
This report examines the use of segregation and solitary confinement in the detention of immigrants.
This report from the National Immigrant Justice Center and Physicians for Human Rights examines the use of segregation and solitary confinement in the detention of immigrants. The report begins with a discussion on the different types of segregation and confinement used by law enforcement: segregation, administrative segregation, disciplinary segregation, solitary confinement, and special management units. Using data obtained from three sources - policy manuals and facility reports and documents, interviews with detainees, and reports from other advocacy organizations - the authors of this report examined how these different forms of detention are used in facilities that house immigrant detainees. The investigation revealed that solitary confinement is frequently used in these facilities as a control mechanism and not as a way to achieve order. The conditions of detainees in solitary confinement is severe, with detainees denied access to everyday services, detainees being placed on diets different from that of the general population, and detainees denied rightful access to legal information and counsel. The report also highlights the improper use of correctional practices in immigrant detention facilities, the health consequences of detainees subjected to solitary confinement, and the due process concerns and lack of oversight at these facilities. Following this evaluation, the authors developed a set of recommendations for ending the use of inhumane solitary confinement in immigrant detention facilities. These recommendations include ending the use of solitary confinement, working with human rights organizations to review existing policies and practices, using alternatives to detention programs for some immigrant detainees, and ending the use of jail and jail-like facilities for immigrant detainees. Endnotes and appendixes