At the Torrance County Detention Facility (TCDF), our team works to provide immigration detainees a variety of services from comprehensive health care to faith-based support and access to legal resources while they prepare for the next steps in their immigration process. Much of the recent reporting about TCDF has been inaccurate and misleading. The reality is that we provide a safe, humane and appropriate environment for those entrusted to us at TCDF and are constantly striving to deliver an even better standard of care. The following are some important facts to understand about the facility:
No Hunger Strike: As of October 27, 2022, there has been no hunger strike at TCDF. There have been no efforts to force detainees to accept meals. If you seek further corroboration, please contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), whose officials have unfettered access to TCDF.
Office of Inspector General (OIG) Report: First, inspectors intentionally misrepresented evidence to negatively portray the facility by staging photos and claiming unoccupied areas were examples of living conditions -- actions that were captured in video. In terms of the final report, ICE states on page 36 that it, "disagree(s) with OIG's previously reported overall conclusion that TCDF does not provide detained noncitizens a safe, secure, and humane environment and their recommendation that ICE immediately relocate all detained noncitizens from TCDF." We have been and will continue to work directly with ICE on the recommendations provided. It's important to note that the OIG regards several of the report’s recommendations as already resolved and closed.
Medical Treatment: All detainees have daily access to sign up for medical care, including mental health services. Our clinic is staffed with licensed, credentialed doctors, nurses and mental health professionals who contractually meet the highest standards of care as verified by multiple audits and inspections. The OIG even noted in their report that "medical contractors determined that the health care program was well organized and managed" and "the medical department was compliant with standards for staff training, peer reviews, emergency care, sick calls, communicable disease and infection control, specialty care, mental health services, medical diets, grievances and privacy." TCDF also earned accreditation from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) earlier this year by demonstrating compliance with NCCHC’s Standards for Health Services in Jails, which are some of the most rigorous in correctional health care.
Potable Water: The facility gets its water from the City of Estancia, so it’s exactly the same water used by residents and businesses in the area. Staff and guests of TCDF regularly drink the water, as well. Any claims of the water being undrinkable are demonstrably false.
Meals: CoreCivic provides three nutritious meals a day that staff members also often eat. Additionally, CoreCivic takes great care to offer meals that support specialized diets and cultural preferences. On a daily basis, we provide meals that support religious diets and more than a dozen therapeutic diets. Menus are reviewed and approved on a regular basis by a registered dietitian to ensure appropriate nutrition is provided to those entrusted to our care. This menu review includes the common fare diet and religious diets, including food portions and nutritional content in accordance with Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) requirements.
Living Conditions/Work Program: Per PBNDS, each detainee is responsible for the housekeeping of their immediate living area and personal hygiene, and the needed supplies are free and readily available to all detainees. We offer a Voluntary Work Program (VWP), and detainees have the freedom to choose whether or not to participate. All work programs are operated in full compliance with ICE standards. We set and deliver the same high standard of care regardless of whether a detainee participates in a VWP.
Translation Services: Staff are trained on and regularly use the interpretation services at TCDF. Tablets provided to detainees and the facility handbook have been translated into 14 additional languages as provided in the ICE National Detainee Handbook.
Legal Access: Our facility has not received any complaints or grievances from detainees or attorneys about legal access issues. We do not have a role in, nor any influence over, the legal process. We are firmly committed to providing those in our care with access to counsel and access to courts, and this commitment is part of our Human Rights Policy.
2021 Inspection: TCDF did not fail an inspection in 2021. The July 2021 inspection report clearly stated the facility was found to be in compliance with all but one standard. The facility quickly took steps to ensure compliance on the one standard cited, which involved kitchen equipment. More broadly, it’s important to understand that the audit process is an opportunity for our government partners to provide us feedback and identify areas for improvement, which we welcome.
We’re proud of our dedicated team at TCDF who work hard every day to keep those in our care safe while providing for their needs as they progress through the civil immigration process. We have a robust grievance process for detainees to raise any concerns they may have. ICE also employs a Detention Standard Compliance Officer to ensure we adhere to their strict standards and policies. For more information, we recommend you reach out to ICE Public Affairs at ICEMedia@ice.dhs.gov.