Detention is NOT prison, but it is

The US is a major human rights violator.

Migrants, for instance, face extreme brutality here.

In the early morning of June 12, 2017, a group of eight Central American migrants decided to go on a hunger strike to protest conditions at the immigration detention center where they were being held in California.

When detainees arrive at the facility, they’re given a handbook that states explicitly, “Detention is NOT prison.” Immigration detention is where the government holds people while deciding whether to deport them, and most detainees have no criminal record. But this group said the conditions felt like those of a penitentiary.

And that would be a penitentiary that itself violates human rights.

The group complained that

The guards were discriminating against them, they lacked access to clean water, the bonds for their immigration cases were too expensive and they were receiving information only in English.

When detention officers ordered them to return to their beds for a routine population “count,” the eight men refused to move from tables in the facility’s day room until they could speak to a supervisor or an official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Surveillance footage shows what happened next.

Detention officers spent several minutes speaking to the detainees, telling them to return to their bunks. They waived a canister of pepper spray in front of them, then attempted to physically move the detainees.

The video shows the detainees trying to remain seated with their arms linked. But detention officers would later claim they were inciting a “rebellion” and “assaulting” staff.

Detention officers then sprayed pepper spray at the men at least three times and forcibly removed them from the tables.

As they visibly recoiled from the spray, some of the detainees were pushed into walls, pulled to the ground or dragged on the floor by guards.

Some were then put in hot showers, which made the effects of the pepper spray worse. (It’s not clear whether that was deliberate or a bungled attempt to wash it away.)

All eight detainees were then sent to “segregation” — ICE’s term for solitary confinement — for 10 days for “engaging in or inciting a group demonstration.”

It’s a for-profit company that runs the prison that isn’t supposed to be a prison.

As NPR reported in January, a previously confidential government inspection found that the facility was failing to meet many of the government’s own standards for solitary confinement, mental health treatment and medical care. The report also found that staff at Adelanto had retaliated against detainees.

Immigration attorneys and advocates say the conditions at Adelanto are emblematic of problems throughout an immigration detention system that has come to increasingly rely on firms like GEO to help enforce the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration policy.

Major human rights violator, at the behest of our monstrous dictator.

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