Reports & Other Publications

Research and analysis exposing the inhumane immigration detention system

Anthology of Abuse: 13 Years at Farmville Detention Center

July 2023
The National Immigration Project, LaColectiVa, Free Them All VA

This ‘Anthology of Abuse’ outlines extensive documentation of abuses that have occurred at ICA-Farmville Detention Center in its 13 year history. ICE’s contract with the town of Farmville is set to expire on September, 15 2023. We ask that ICE allow this contract to expire and shut down operations at ICE-Farmville for good.

Descargar el PDF: Antología de abuso-13 años en el centro de detención de Farmville

Anthology of Abuse: End Three Decades of Abuse at the Elizabeth Detention Center

June 2023
AFSC Immigrant Rights Program Newark, First Friends of NY & NJ, Pax Christi New Jersey, and New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice,

This ‘Anthology of Abuse’ compiles decades' worth of inhumane treatment at the Elizabeth Detention Center (EDC). The joint contract to operate the EDC between private prison company CoreCivic and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expires on August 31. If renewed, the contract will be in direct conflict with a New Jersey state law signed by Governor Murphy in 2021, a law currently facing legal challenges from CoreCivic. The Biden administration now has the choice of siding with corporate interests or with its constituents by letting the contract end.

Carceral Carousel

May 2023
the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

The prison industrial complex is a highly adaptive mechanism that is constantly shifting to sustain itself. In recent years, the movement against mass incarceration has gained traction in reducing penal incarceration in the United States. In this report in collaboration with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, we detail select case examples of jails and prisons that closed for one purpose, only to cage a different group of people. The case studies demonstrate how sustained pressure and community organizing can lead to transformative wins that can help free people and keep cages shut down for good. Read Carceral Carousel here.

If You Build It, ICE Will Fill It: The Link Between Detention Capacity and ICE Arrests

September 2022
The Immigration Legal Resource Center, Ceres Research

ICE arrests have a direct relationship to the availability and capacity of immigration detention centers. As detention capacity increases, so do ICE apprehensions. The report, If You Build It, ICE Will Fill It, from Detention Watch Network, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and Ceres Policy Research outlines the direct link between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests and the availability and capacity of immigration detention centers. The report demonstrates that immigrants in counties with more detention space and counties with an overall higher carceral capacity are significantly more likely to be arrested and detained by ICE.

Descargar el PDF: Si lo Construyes, ICE lo Llenará

Broken Promises: Limits of Biden's Executive Order on Private Prisons

November 2021
Project South

The Biden administration has failed to deliver on the promise to end the use of private prisons in federal incarceration and immigration detention, according to Broken Promises: Limits of Biden's Executive Order on Private Prisons a new report released by Detention Watch Network and Project South. The report provides an overview of progress towards that unfulfilled promise, explores a troubling trend of detention expansion, and outlines the steps the administration must take to end the federal use of private prisons and phase out the use of immigration detention entirely.

Descargar el resumen ejecutivo como PDF:  Promesas Rotas: Límites de la Orden Ejecutiva de Biden Sobre Prisiones Privadas

Communities Not Cages: A Just Transition from Immigration Detention Economies

May 2021

Communities Not Cages: A Just Transition from Immigration Detention Economies examines the role of immigration detention in local economies and outlines a vision for a just transition away from economies dependent on detention centers. The report compiles research on prisons, economic development, and trend lines in adult and youth incarceration around the country, and draws on interviews with more than 20 community organizers, advocates, lawyers, and experts on immigration detention and adult and juvenile prison systems.

Descargar el resumen ejecutivo como PDF: Comunidades Sí, Jaulas No: Una transición justa fuera de las economías de detención de inmigrantes

First Ten to Communities Not Cages

February 2021

“First Ten to Communities Not Cages” campaign is demanding the shut down of 10 immigration detention facilities in the first year of the Biden administration. The ‘First Ten’ detention centers are emblematic of how the immigration detention system as a whole is inherently abusive, unjust and fatally flawed beyond repair.

Descargar como PDF: Los Primeros Dies de Comunidades Si, Jaulas No

Hotbeds of Infection: How ICE Detention Contributed to the Spread of COVID-19 in the United States

December 2020

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) failed pandemic response substantially increased the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to Hotbeds of Infection: How ICE Detention Contributed to the Spread of COVID-19 in the United States, a report released by Detention Watch Network. Between May and August of 2020, ICE detention facilities were responsible not only for thousands of COVID cases in detention centers, but contributed to more than 245,000 additional COVID-19 cases in communities throughout the country.

Courting Catastrophe: How ICE is Gambling with Immigrant Lives Amid a Global Pandemic

March 2020

Under ordinary circumstances, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody has proven to be deadly for the people detained at the agency’s network of over 200 jails and detention centers across the country. Now facing a global health crisis, ICE’s shameful record of medical negligence, limited and rotten food provisions, poor sanitation, and demonstrated inability to properly respond to past infectious disease outbreaks means that there is a serious risk of COVID-19 outbreaks at immigration detention centers.

Descargar como PDF: Cortejando catástrofe: cómo ICE está arriesgando las vidas de inmigrantes durante una pandemia global

ICE Lies: Public Deception, Private Profit

February 2018
National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC)

ICE Lies: Public Deception, Private Profit, exposes Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) egregious patterns of fiscal irresponsibility, opacity in management, and disregard for congressional oversight in its detention system. Such irresponsible governance results in system-wide abuses and even deaths.

Descargar como PDF: Las mentiras de ICE: Engaño público, ganancia privada

A Toxic Relationship: Private Prisons and U.S. Immigration Detention

December 2016

A Toxic Relationship: Private Prisons and U.S. Immigration Detention, builds on the overwhelming evidence that the privatization of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention exacerbates due process violations, egregious conditions and transparency concerns that are endemic to the immigration detention system. In addition, the report amplifies the experiences of 42 individuals who were or are held in privately-run detention centers.

Banking on Detention 2016 Update

June 2016
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

The widespread use of local lockup quotas throughout the immigration detention system was exposed in DWN and CCR’s report, Banking on Detention: Local Lockup Quotas and the Immigrant Dragnet, in June 2015. Since then, the government has released additional documents that shed light on the continued use of local lockup quotas, covering at least 24 detention facility contracts. This report update includes uncovering local quotas at family detention centers.

Descargar como PDF: Ganancias Garantizadas en el Sistema de Detención Actualización de 2016

Fatal Neglect: How ICE Ignores Deaths in Detention

February 2016
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC)

This report examines egregious violations of medical standards by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that played a significant role in the deaths of people in detention centers across the country. The report focuses on eight deaths during a three-year period (2010 to 2012). Based on documentation from ICE investigations conducted after each death, which the ACLU received through a Freedom of Information Act request, the report shows that violations of ICE’s medical standards contributed to the deaths. More perniciously, additional research shows that ICE inspections of the detention facilities before and after these deaths failed to acknowledge — or sometimes dismissed — the substandard medical care.

Descargar como PDF: Negligencia Mortal: El ICE pasa por alto las muertes en el sistema de detención

Abuse in Adelanto: An Investigation into a California Town’s Immigration Jail

November 2015
Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC)

This report details how the rural town of Adelanto relied on the prison industrial complex to revitalize their community only to realize that an influx of prisons did not bring economic growth. The report also delves into the abuses and violations that CIVIC visitation volunteers and detention monitoring tours have documented from speaking with detained individuals at the Adelanto Detention Center.

Lives in Peril: How Ineffective Inspections Make ICE Complicit in Detention Center Abuse

October 2015
National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC)

This report exposes how Immigration Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) inspections process for immigration detention obscures and perpetuates widespread abuses of detained immigrants. The lack of accountability for the operators and service-providers of immigration detention facilities has led to egregious conditions, medically negligent deaths, and abuses that violate the most basic of human and constitutional rights. The report draws on information obtained from contracts and audits of the most populated immigration detention facilities through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by NIJC in 2011.

Banking on Detention: Local Lockup Quotas & the Immigrant Dragnet

June 2015
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

This report identifies the use of local “lockup” quotas, referred to as guaranteed minimums in detention facility contracts, in at least half of ICE’s field offices. These contractual provisions obligate ICE to pay for a minimum number of immigration detention beds that they are encouraged to not only fill, but exceed. As a result, local “lockup” quotas serve as a tax-payer funded insurance policy for private prison corporations. The report draws on information obtained from a FOIA request filed in November 2013.

Ending the Use of Immigration Detention to Deter Migration

April 2015

This policy brief examines the inappropriate use of deterrence as a rationale for immigration detention. The brief serves as a resource for advocates to push back against the argument that you can punish people to stop them (and others) from seeking safety, which disregards constitutional protections and the United States’ international obligations.

Expose & Close: Artesia

September 2014

This report investigates the rapid growth of family detention in 2014, exposing the now closed Artesia Family Detention Center in New Mexico. This report describes how the government justified imprisoning asylum seeking women and their children — including babies, with the misguided (and now illegal) rationale that detention is a way to deter migration.

Expose & Close: One Year Later

November 2013

This report provides an updated review of conditions at immigration jails featured in the original Expose & Close reports from 2012, as well as, additional detention centers in Florida, Nevada, California and Pennsylvania. The report documents a complete lack of accountability in a system that continues to be plagued by deaths, suicides, inadequate medical care and violations of due process.

Expose & Close

November 2012
DWN members and allies, including policy advocates, community organizers, legal service providers, faith groups and individuals personally impacted by detention.

Expose and Close 2012 was a coordinated release of ten reports that detail the acute and chronic human right violations occurring in some of the worst immigration detention centers in the United States: Baker County Jail (FL), Etowah County Jail (AL), Houston Processing Center (TX), Hudson County Jail (NJ), Irwin County Detention Facility (GA), Pinal County Jail (AZ), Polk County Detention Facility (TX), Stewart Detention Center (GA), Theo Lacy Detention Center (CA), and Tri-County Detention Center (IL).