On World Mental Health Day, Detention Watch Network Premieres  “Caged Dreams”

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Directed by Johannes Favi, Detention Watch Network’s inaugural Freedom Fellow

WASHINGTON, D.C. - “Caged Dreams,” a new documentary from Detention Watch Network that premiered today, details the stories of Johannes Favi, Beatriz Batres, and Felipe Diosdado, who were previously detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody and suffered long-lasting trauma due to their incarceration. 

“The goal of the film is to paint a vivid picture of the emotional experience of immigration detention and the deep impacts on a person’s mental health and their loved ones,” said Johannes Favi, Freedom Fellow at Detention Watch Network and the Deputy Director of the Illinois Community for Displaced Immigrants. Favi is originally from Benin in West Africa and now resides in the Chicago area. He was the 2021 recipient of the Human Rights Award by the National Immigrant Justice Center. “Caged Dreams” marks his directorial debut. 

The short documentary film features Favi, a father of three, who was previously detained at the Kankakee Detention Center in Illinois, Beatriz Batres, a mother of three, who was detained with her child at the Artesia Family Detention Center in New Mexico in 2014 (now shut down), and Felipe Diosdado, a father of two who has resided in the U.S. for more than two decades, and was previously detained at the Dodge Detention Center in Wisconsin after applying for a license at the DMV in his home state of Illinois. 

“Together, we are striving to raise awareness of the unspoken trauma people experience and continue to live after their release from immigration detention,“ added Favi. “Simply put, people navigating their immigration case should be able to do so with their families and in community – not behind bars. Immigration detention as a whole is unnecessary, rife with systemic abuses and completely arbitrary.”

The number of people in detention is at the highest level under the Biden administration at over 35,000 – more than double what it was when he first took office. Despite Biden’s stance against private prisons, roughly 90 percent of detention capacity is operated by private prison corporations. 

“Caged Dreams” premiered virtually to over 750 registered attendants, followed by a panel discussion of people featured in the film with a question and answer portion.

Watch “Caged Dreams” on DWN’s YouTube Channel


Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition building power through collective advocacy, grassroots organizing, and strategic communications to abolish immigration detention in the United States.