Monday, 6 April 2009

18 Deaths A Year In U.S. Immigration Prisons

More than 90 prisoners held in immigrant detention centres have died in the past five years, the New York Times reports today, as revealed in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) document labelled "List of Detainee Deaths since October 2003." The record was obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, part of an ongoing investigation of deaths in immigrant prisons.

According to the Times, 32 of the 92 deaths occurred at jails run by private companies, including "at least 18" at facilities run by the notorious Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in the country.

The list of detainee deaths, available here, charts prisoners' names, dates of birth, the facilities where they were held or died, and whether or not an autopsy was performed. The "Cause of Death" field lists everything from AIDS to heart disease, suggesting that many of the prisoners likely suffered from medical neglect. A number committed suicide; "hanging" is listed as the cause of death for six prisoners.

"Of the 92 people who died in detention," reports the Times, "21 were from Cuba, 19 from Mexico, 6 each from Guatemala and Honduras, 5 from El Salvador, three each from Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica; two each from Ghana, Guinea, India, Korea and one each from 18 other countries, including Germany, Brazil, Afghanistan and the Philippines." [from]

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