Local Leaders Launch New Campaign to “Expose and Close” Widespread Abuse at Baker County Jail, Calling it One of the Ten Worst in the Nation

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Local Leaders Launch New Campaign to “Expose and Close” Widespread Abuse at Baker County Jail, Calling it One of the Ten Worst in the Nation

For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2012


Cheryl Little, Americans for Immigrant Justice, 305-573-1106, ext.1001, clittle@aijustice.org
Romy Lerner, Americans for Immigrant Justice, 305-573-1106, ext. 1580, rlerner@aijustice.org

Karen Winston, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, 904-356-8371 ext. 340, karen.winston@jaxlegalaid.org

***Local Leaders Available to Discuss New Report on Abuses in Baker County Jail***

Local Leaders Launch New Campaign to “Expose and Close” Widespread Abuse at Baker County Jail, Calling it One of the Ten Worst in the Nation

New Reports Highlight Pattern of Abuse and Demand President Obama Restore Basic Dignity

MIAMI, FLORIDA – Immigrants in detention represent the fastest growing prison population in the country. A record 400,000 immigrants were deported last year, most of whom had lived here for years, worked hard, paid U.S. taxes and have U.S. citizen children. In 2009, after a rash of horrific detainee deaths and abuses, ICE announced ambitious reform plans and promised a “truly civil” detention system. Three years later, little has changed.

On Thursday, November 15th, as part of a nationwide campaign launch, community leaders and advocates will release a report, designating Florida’s Baker County Jail as one of the ten worst in the country and detailing the widespread pattern of abuse there. Advocates will call on President Obama to close the immigrant prison in Macclenny, Florida and to quickly implement reforms to ensure the safety, dignity and well-being of those held in ICE detention for civil violations only.

Among the report’s findings:
• Immigrants detained at Baker suffer an almost complete lack of exposure to natural sunlight;
• Detainees families often live hundreds of miles away from Baker and even when family members travel to Baker, detainees are only allowed non-contact video visitation with family and friends;
• Detainees have been subject to solitary confinement upon mere suspicion of having violated a jail rule.

According to AI Justice Attorney Romy Lerner, “ICE detainees continue to suffer from sexual assaults, substandard medical care, misuse of isolation, excessive use of force, abysmal conditions, and the lack of due process, legal counsel and meaningful oversight. Baker County Jail, and facilities like it, must be immediately closed.” Cheryl Little, Executive Director at Americans for Immigrant Justice, adds, “Hoped-for-reforms remain an aspiration. We hope that given recent election results, deserving immigrants will finally have an opportunity to earn legal status instead of being subjected to inhumane detention and deportation.”

This report is part of a series of reports and a coordinated effort to highlight ten detention centers across the nation that sheds light on the appalling conditions immigrants in detention face, including Etowah County Detention Center (AL), Pinal County Jail (AZ), Houston Processing Center (TX), Polk County Detention Facility (TX), Stewart Detention Center (GA), Irwin County Jail (GA), Hudson County Jail (NJ), Theo Lacy Detention Center (CA), Tri-County Detention Center (IL), and Baker County Jail (FL).

Local leaders will also be available for interviews to discuss the report in greater detail. If you’d like to schedule an interview or learn more about the campaign, please contact Romy Lerner via email at rlerner@aijustice.org or via phone at (305) 573-1106 ext. 1580.

Find below the list of Reports

Executive Summary

Resumen Ejecutivo

Baker County Jail Florida

Pinal County Jail Arizona

 Etowah County Jail Alabama

Polk County Detention Facility Texas

Houston Processing Center Texas

Stewart Detention Center Georgia

Hudson County Jail New Jersey

Theo Lacy Detention Center California

Irwin County Detention Center Georgia

Tri-County Detention Center Illinois

All reports are designed by Kathleen Nagata Sato


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