The US government is currently holding about 400,000 men and women in a patchwork of immigration prisons. Some are kept in corporate facilities that are guaranteed a minimum number of prisoners daily; others are in cells leased from county jails and other lockups.
Carlos Hidalgo has spent two stretches at California’s Adelanto Detention Facility, where he witnessed food with maggots, guards having sex with inmates, easy access to drugs, and difficult access to legal counsel and family members. It’s an eye-opening look at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prisons in America today.
In this WhoWhatWhy podcast, Hidalgo also reports that ICE guards have little training, and says they are more like mall cops than professional prison guards. With a population ranging from serious felons to undocumented people with a DUI or minor violation, the guards are outnumbered and unable to break up fights between prisoners.
And he tells of the time he spent in solitary confinement for helping others with legal papers and organizing a hunger strike over food and other issues.