Contributions > John Eason, David Hernandez, Pat Rubio-Goldsmith

John Eason
Texas A&M University

David Hernandez
Mounty Holyoke College

Pat Rubio-Goldsmith
Texas A&M University

Human rights and immigration centers in the US



Because leaders across the political spectrum agree that mass imprisonment is inefficient, costly, and a chief purveyor of increased racial and economic inequality, there are increased calls for an end to mass imprisonment. In contrast, the U.S. detention system has grown five-fold while enshrouded in darkness behind a bureaucratic veil stitched together with indemnification clauses and laced with a host of other legal jargon. Our contribution seeks to understand how race and punishment intersect to produce health disparities in immigrant detention centers that have received little attention from scholars. This paper tries to understand how race and punishment intersect to produce health disparities in immigrant detention centers. We show that punitive capacity (sexual assaults, physical assaults, dispersion of chemical weapons, disturbances, use of restraints, and SWAT deployment) predicts deaths, attempted suicides, and medical/psychiatric service referrals outside of the facility. We also find that punitive capacity is unrelated to facility standards, access to legal counsel, and detainee grievances. We argue that detention, like imprisonment, is also a form of punishment despite being an administrative (non criminal) process for the purposes of deportation. While immigrants do have limited rights (and in some cases due process) in comparison to criminals, the power of detention is capriciously exercised over their daily lives making the detention center a site of vulnerability for marginalized populations. The paper applies multi-method and multi-level approaches in empirical investigations and relies on novel data including two comprehensive audits and contracts of 116 of the largest ICE (the Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agency) Immigrant detention centers from 2006 to 2012.

Online user: 2 Privacy