Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Of Mice and Men: On the Seclusion of Immigration Detainees and Hospital Patients

Of Mice and Men: On the Seclusion of Immigration Detainees and Hospital Patients

Tovino, Stacey A. “Of Mice and Men: On the Seclusion of Immigration Detainees and Hospital Patients.” Minnesota Law Review, 2016, 2381-432.

This article focuses on the use and abuse of segregation in U.S. immigration detention centers. Notwithstanding ICE’s detention guidelines, which prohibit isolation without justification, the article reports that immigrants held in detention may be segregated for arbitrary reasons, minor rules violations that are not serious enough to warrant segregation, or for no reason at all. Segregation is also used in lieu of mental health care in many immigration detention facilities, or as “protection” for vulnerable populations such LGBTQ individuals. The author argues that justifications provided by ICE and detention facility staff are rarely proportionate to the dangers of isolation and fall short of federal health law standards governing the imposition of segregation.

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Key words: immigration detention, solitary confinement, segregation, prison isolation, vulnerable populations, ICE