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State Department of Justice to review immigrant detention conditions

By in Press Enterprise on June 17, 2017

By Alejandra Molina

The California Department of Justice will begin to review the living conditions of detention facilities that house immigrants as they await their immigration hearings.

Senator Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Friday, June 16 said the Justice Department will assess conditions of confinement and due process concerns of immigrants detained in private, city, and county facilities in the state.

There are nine such facilities in California. Most operate under contracts with local governments, according to a statement released by Lara’s office.

“If the federal government won’t ensure the safety and humane treatment of people held in detention in California, we must do that job and stand up for human rights,” Lara said in the statement.

The Department of Justice must deliver a report on these conditions by March 2019, with ongoing reviews until 2027, according to a budget bill that passed Thursday, June 15.

In another move protecting immigrants, the budget bill also prevents local governments from signing or expanding contracts with federal authorities for immigration detention facilities.

This news comes as three people have died in the privately-operated Adelanto Detention Facility since March and after a recently-released report found the facility to rank third on a list of five detention centers with the most sexual assault complaints.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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