May 13, 2017

U.S. immigrant prisons face scrutiny for poor conditions

Ricardo Arduengo / AP

Health care in immigrant prisons leads to suffering and death, according to a new Human Rights Watch report that includes analysis from independent medical experts. The report highlights several medical cases that have been mishandled in the immigrant jail system.

The findings: Dangerous patterns of over-reliance on unqualified medical staff, unreasonable delays or denials of care, subpar mental health care, and bad record-keeping, in public and private prisons both. This all contributed to seven deaths in detention out of a total of 18 in-custody deaths.

Compare this: The HRW report claims Immigrations and Customs Enforcement "has been receiving reports of such substandard medical care for years but has failed to take meaningful action." ICE tells Axios it is reviewing the report to see if changes should be made based on the report's recommendations.

The Trump effect: Trump wants to ramp up immigrant detention, which will likely put pressure on the capacity of jails to offer adequate healthcare — which already needs an injection of accountability and care, according to HRW. ICE spokesperson Jennifer Elzea tells Axios ICE is reviewing capacity expansion models for the expected influx of immigrant detainees. She would not reveal what those models include.

  • Exacerbating that: Private prisons, and Trump's support for them — over two-thirds of immigrant detainees are held in prisons run by private companies, which the DOJ found have more safety and security problems per capita than their counterparts.
  • According to Detention Watch Network: "Throughout the system, we see evidence that these companies seek to maximize their profits by cutting costs at the expense of people's health, safety, and wellbeing."
  • Note: Although a DHS advisory board recommended a phaseout of using private prisons, the DHS did not heed its suggestion. (And although the DOJ decided to phaseout private prisons, Trump reversed that move.)
  • Two of the largest private prison companies, CivicCore/CCA and The GeoGroup Inc., did not respond immediately to followup questions about potential pressures on healthcare in their jails as more immigrants are detained under Trump.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 5,543,439 — Total deaths: 347,836 — Total recoveries — 2,266,394Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,669,040 — Total deaths: 98,426 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. Trump administration: Mike Pence's press secretary returns to work after beating coronavirus.
  4. States: New York reports lowest number of new coronavirus deaths since March.
  5. Public health: The final data for remdesivir is in and its benefits are rather limited.
  6. Education: A closer look at how colleges can reopenNotre Dame president says science alone "cannot provide the answer" to reopening.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns

Fine testiying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general, submitted his resignation on Tuesday.

Why it matters: President Trump removed Fine as the Pentagon's acting inspector general in April 7 after a group of independent federal watchdogs selected him to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which was set up to oversee the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

New York reports lowest number of daily coronavirus deaths since March

The number of daily new coronavirus cases and deaths reported in New York was the lowest since the state started its lockdown in March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, calling Memorial Day a "pivot point" for New York.

By the numbers: 73 New Yorkers died from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 200 people tested positive. Hospitalizations and intubations also decreased.