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Human Rights Watch report details sexual assaults in ICE-contracted detention centers

A Human Rights Watch report released yesterday identifies numerous cases of sexual assault against immigrants detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's vast and largely private immigrant detention system.  As we reported, last week a former supervisor at Correction Corporation of America's T. Don Hutto detention center was arrested and charged in a case of sexual assault of many detained women being transported from the facilities. 

HRW's report, Detained and at Risk: Sexual Abuse and Harassment in United States Immigration Detention, details several cases of abuse at many of Texas' private immigrant detentio centers.  About Hutto, the report says:

In May 2007, when Hutto still functioned as a family detention center, a young boy was sleeping in a crib inside his mother’s cell when a guard entered and had sexual contact with her. Video surveillance captured the guard, employed by private contractor Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), crawling out of the cell in the middle of the night in an apparent failed attempt to evade security cameras.[36] CCA fired the guard, but he never faced criminal prosecution by either state or federal authorities. According to an ICE spokesperson, the police investigation concluded that the sexual contact had been consensual.[37] In any Bureau of Prisons facility in the US, the same incident would have constituted a crime because federal law criminalizes sexual contact between guards and those in their custody.[38] However, at the time, that particular provision of the federal criminal code applied only to facilities under the authority of the Department of Justice. Immigration facilities had been under the authority of the DOJ until 2003, but then authority passed to the newly created Department of Homeland Security. Consequently, the statutory provision did not cover sexual misconduct in ICE facilities at the time of the incident at Hutto. Later in 2007, a legislative amendment was passed to make the provision cover all federal facilities.[39]

The report also details alleged abuse at the GEO Group's South Texas Detention Center,

The South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall, Texas has also been dogged by reports of sexual abuse of detainees.[40] In 2008, media outlets reported detainees attesting to frequent sexual abuse. One such report stated that documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request described an investigation into an alleged assault of a detainee from Mexico by a private security guard which led to his firing but did not result in prosecution.[41] According to the report, the documents also said that another detainee had reported multiple sexual assaults.[42]

And at Management and Training Corporation's Willacy County Detention Center in Raymondville,

In the summer of 2009, the Women’s Refugee Commission received numerous reports of sexual assault at the Willacy Detention Center in Raymondville.[43] In at least one case, a lawsuit was filed by the victim, who was transferred to the Port Isabel center after the allegations were made. The allegations received by the Women’s Refugee Commission included not only assaults by guards on women, but also one alleged incident in which a guard locked a female detainee in a room with a male detainee to whom he “owed a favor,” so that he could rape her. These reports came from various sources, including former staff at the facility who wished to remain anonymous. These alleged incidents were reported to Dora Schriro in August of 2009 and she responded by immediately going to Willacy herself to investigate and conduct interviews.