During our unannounced inspection of Adams in Natchez, Mississippi, we identified violations of ICE detention standards that threatened the health, safety, and rights of detainees. Although Adams generally provided sufficient medical care, we identified one case in which the medical unit examined a sick detainee but did not send the detainee to the hospital for urgent medical treatment, and the detainee died. We also found the medical unit did not document outcomes of detainee sick calls or ensure proper review and follow-up of detainee test results. In addressing COVID-19, Adams took some measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but detainees did not consistently follow some guidelines, including use of facial coverings and social distancing, which may have contributed to repeated COVID-19 transmissions. Adams did not meet standards for classification, grievances, segregation, or staff-detainee communications. Specifically, we discovered a low custody detainee comingled with higher custody detainees, and found the facility did not always identify detainees with special vulnerabilities or those requiring translation services. Adams also did not respond timely to detainee grievances and was not consistently providing required care for detainees in segregation including access to recreation, legal calls, laundry, linen exchange, mail, legal materials, commissary, law library, and to ICE forms and drop-boxes for detainees to make requests. In addition, ICE did not consistently respond to detainee requests timely. Finally, we determined the declining detainee population at Adams resulted in ICE paying more than $17 million for unused bed space under a guaranteed minimum contract. We made seven recommendations to ICE’s Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to ensure the New Orleans ERO Field Office overseeing Adams addresses identified issues and ensures facility compliance with relevant detention standards. ICE concurred with all seven recommendations.
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