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Houston Processing Center and Solitary Confinement in the News

Houston Processing Center, run by Corrections Corporation of America, was the site this weekend of a protest by undocumented youth known as DREAMers.  The protesters railed against immigrant detention policies and the inhumane conditions within the facility.  Along with the Polk County Detention Center, HPC was cited as one the nation's ten worst detention centers in Detention Watch Network's Expose and Close campaign.  Univision covered the protest:

 

While the DREAMers protested outisde the facility, the New York Times covered a troubling aspect of so-called civil detention policy - prolonged administrative segretagion (better known as solitary confinement).  Immigrants in detention - including those at the Houston Processing Center - can be placed in isolation for a number of reasons, from disciplinary infractions to concerns for their safety (including mental health concerns and sexuality).  ICE reports that 300 immigrants are being held in segregation on any given day, and according to the article,

Nearly half are isolated for 15 days or more, the point at which psychiatric experts say they are at risk for severe mental harm, with about 35 detainees kept for more than 75 days.

Juan Mendez, United Nations special rapporteur on torture, identified the solitary confinement of immigrants as a "breach of [the United States's] obligations under the torture convention."

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