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OIG: ICE Needs to Address Concerns About Detainee Treatment at Howard County Detention Center

During its December 2019 unannounced inspection of the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup, Md., the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General said it identified violations of ICE detention standards that threatened the health, safety, and rights of detainees.

Although HCDC generally complied with ICE detention standards regarding communication, it did not meet the standards for detainee searches, food service, and record requirements for segregation and medical grievances. OIG determined HCDC excessively strip-searched ICE detainees leaving their housing unit to attend activities within the facility, in violation of ICE detention standards and the facility’s own search policy.

In addition, HCDC failed to provide detainees with two hot meals per day, as required. For those in segregation, HCDC did not consistently document that detainees received three meals a day and daily medical visits. Further, HCDC did not properly document the handling of detainee medical grievances.

As directed by Congress, OIG conducts annual unannounced inspections of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities to ensure compliance with detention standards.

OIG made two recommendations to improve ICE’s oversight of detention facility management and operations at HCDC. ICE concurred with the two recommendations and has identified a corrective action plan to address the deficiencies OIG identified.

Read the OIG report

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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