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ICE Needs to Address Concerns About Detainee Care and Treatment at the Howard County Detention Center

Executive Summary

We found violations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention standards undermining the protection of detainees’ rights and the provision of a safe and healthy environment.  Although the Howard County Detention Center (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.  We determined HCDC excessively strip searched ICE detainees when 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 document that detainees received three meals per day and daily medical visits.  Further, HCDC did not properly document the handling of detainee medical grievances.  We made two recommendations to ICE’s Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to ensure the Baltimore ERO Field Office overseeing HCDC addresses identified issues and ensures facility compliance with relevant detention standards.  ICE concurred with both recommendations and is implementing a corrective action plan to address the concerns we identified.

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