Lack of Mental Health Care Leads to Suicide at Immigrant Detention Centers

Lack of Mental Health Care Leads to Suicide at Immigrant Detention Centers

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) recently released a joint report about the mental health care, or lack thereof, available to immigrants confined in detention centers across the nation. According to these organizations, these lapses in the provision of mental health care have resulted in the untimely death of some detained immigrants. The report tells the story of Luke, a lawful permanent resident from Guyana, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia five years ago. Luke ended up detained at Orange County Correctional Facility in New York, where authorities reportedly knew about his mental illness, but failed to treat it properly. Instead, for about a year, Luke received unnecessary medications and repeatedly put into isolation for behaviors related to his mental condition. Luke finally made a suicide attempt in March, 2016; immigration authorities then transferred him to a mental health facility and he was recently deported. Unfortunately, Luke’s situation is not uncommon in the immigrant detention center system. For the purposes of the report, independent medical experts reviewed health records and government investigations into 18 deaths of detainees from 2012 to 2015. The medical experts found that substandard medical care contributed to 16 out of the 18 deaths, some of which were suicides. Some of the conditions that led to substandard medical care and violated the medical standards established by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) included delays in care, delays in response to emergency medical situations, and unqualified, insufficient staff to monitor detainees. Immigrant detention facilities also failed to remedy problems in the provision of medical care, even after ICE had identified those problems in their investigations. For example, one ICE report cited a lack of a suicide prevention plan at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona; Eloy officials still did not have such a plan in place, despite three suicides in two years within the facility. If you are detained and facing deportation, don’t lose hope. From California to Arizona, the deportation defense attorneys of Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. know how to help you through every step of your deportation proceedings. Take the first step today toward securing the future of your family in the United States, and call our office at (510) 756-4468 to set up a legal consultation with one of our highly skilled immigration lawyers.
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