COVID-19 in ICE detention by the numbers June wrap up

This month, DHS OIG issued a new report on COVID-19 in ICE detention. The report begins by noting that the number of positive cases “has risen dramatically” and notes that ICE detention facilities are unable to practice social distancing or to properly quarantine infected individuals.

Our letters to members of the NM Congressional Delegation and Governor point out that local facilities like the MTC managed Otero County Processing Center are using rooms crated for disciplinary solitary confinement to quarantine COVID-19 positive individuals. You get sick and MTC puts you in solitary for 14 days while ICE seems to think this is acceptable. The UN recognizes 15 days in solitary as tantamount to torture.

A couple of notes:

Our letters to members of the NM Congressional Delegation and Governor point out that local facilities like the MTC managed Otero County Processing Center are using rooms created for disciplinary solitary confinement to quarantine COVID-19 positive individuals. You get sick and MTC puts you in solitary for 14 days while ICE seems to think this is acceptable. The UN recognizes 15 days in solitary as tantamount to torture. OIG previously found that OCPC uses solitary in problematic ways.

The new DHS OIG report has some informative graphs showing infection over time and across space. One of the graphs they could have included but didn’t is to plot the number of confirmed cases by ICE prison contractor.

COVID-19 Cases by ICE Contractor

While COVID-19 cases are exploding in ICE detention facilities run by for profit private prison companies those companies continue to push their positive marketing messages.

Another useful but not included figure would be to plot positive cases in relation to known ICE transfers. While it is difficult to get accurate information on ICE transfers, because ICE won’t disclose this information, it is often possible to independently piece this information together. Below is a figure showing positive cases in relation to two known transfers into OCPC.

OCPC COVID-19 Cases over time in relation to ICE transfers

Has anyone noticed that the number of cases at the MTC managed Bluebonnet facility is exploding?

Bluebonnet COVID-19 Cases over time
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