McHenry County Jail Mentioned in Complaint about Mistreatment of ICE-Detained Sexual Minorities

A view from the McHenry County Jail.

A complaint has been made to the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the Department of Homeland Security about mistreatment and abuse of sexual minorities by the Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center.

 

You can read the full complaint here.

I have put the part where McHenry County is mentioned in a complaint filed with ICE in bold face type below. The detainee mentioned is one of thirteen used in this complaint.

It’s in the Long-Term Solitary Confinement portion of the document.

Long-Term Solitary Confinement

ICE detained a number of the complainants in restrictive segregation – ranging from solitary confinement to “lock down” in their cells for 22 hours per day. Complainants endured this treatment for extended periods – up to months at a time – without formal determinations of the necessity of segregation and without an appeals process. At least one court has found that a blanket policy of placing transgender immigration detainees in restrictive segregation, absent articulation of a specific need to do so, violates due process rights.7 Other practices and policies detailed in the complaints, such as restricting access to recreation and reading material, are blatantly punitive in nature and thus violate constitutional protections. As the following complaints highlight:

 [Delfino] was held in segregation for four months, justifying their decision on the basis that [Delfino] presented “effeminately.” Facility staff refused to provide [Delfino] a Bible and permitted him only one hour of recreation – in a cold nine-by-thirteen-foot cell – per day. (Houston Processing Center, Texas)

[Raquel]’s freedom of movement was restricted and she was denied privileges such as reading material available to the general population. (McHenry County Jail, Illinois)

 Sexual minorities were assigned to 22-hour lock down “protective custody”) without individualized analysis of the need for this restriction, and without affording detainees the opportunity to rebut this classification.

Individuals in “protective custody” had far less freedom of movement and access to recreation than individuals in the general population. Facility staff often restricted recreation time for sexual minorities to less than one hour a day. (Theo Lacy Facility, California)

ICE’s recent issuance of guidance (“Housing Directive”) on restrictive housing assignments8 does not sufficiently address detention facilities’ inability to provide safe, unsegregated and unrestrictive housing for a vulnerable detainee. The Housing Directive proposes transferring the individual to another facility; that does not address the issue.

Rather than shuffling detainees between inadequate detention centers, as happened for several of the individuals submitting complaints, ICE should acknowledge its inability to provide legally adequate detention conditions and prioritize alternatives to detention.

Under a heading entitled, “Discrimination and Abuse:”

[Raquel] suffered severe psychological abuse by, and with the acquiescence of,facility staff. After months of strain, [Raquel] had a mental breakdown at and wastransferred to the hospital ward of another detention facility. (Kenosha County

Detention Center and Kenosha County Jail, Wisconsin, and McHenry County
Jail)

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