[Mother Jones] Understaffed Federal Prison Is Taking in 1,000 Noncriminal Immigrants, and Even the Guards Are Protesting

June 15, 2018

Last week, as the first busloads of immigrants rolled up to the federal prison complex in Victorville, California, the facilities there went on lockdown. The Victorville complex, in an unexpected move, had agreed to accept 1,000 detainees from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which said it had run out of beds because of its crackdown on border crossings. This large-scale transfer was unprecedented, the outcry immediate: Human rights advocates railed against the treatment of immigrants like criminals. And prison employees said they were largely unprepared for the influx. Lindsay Toczylowski, a lawyer with the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, told me she drove 90 miles this week to meet potential clients at Victorville but was turned away.Prison staff seemed unfamiliar with ICE protocol, she adds: Employees told her ICE would need to authorize her visit, and that immigrants would need to include her name on an approved list before she could meet them.That may be standard practice for prisoners, but it’s not required at other immigrant detention centers, Toczylowski says. “They seemed pretty confused,” she says. And the staffers would not even guarantee that immigrant detainees could meet with counsel before heading to court. “We are really concerned about this.” Read the full story

 Photo: James Quigg/The Daily Press via AP

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