Violations of ICE detention standards found at Illinois jail

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CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s office detailed several violations at a southern Illinois jail that houses Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees, according to a report released Thursday.

An inspection of the Pulaski County Jail revealed the facility didn’t consistently enforce the use of facial coverings, social distancing and other precautions that would have mitigated the spread of COVID-19. Between February 2020 and February 2021, the jail had 111 cases of COVID-19.

The Ullin facility had an average daily population of 107 detainees at the time of the inspection, with a maximum capacity of 216 inmates, according to the report. At the time of the inspection, the jail housed about 113 detainees.

In its report, the inspector general’s office noted the jail did not have procedures in place for chronic care nor did it conduct routine wellness checks of detainees held in segregation. The failure to have a color-coded visual identification system based on the criminal history of detainees cause the housing of a detainee with significant criminal history with detainees with no criminal histories. The mistake was revealed to jail officials by an inmate.

The inspector general also noted ICE did not specify times for staff to visit detainees and could not provide documentation that it completed facility visits with detainees during the pandemic.

The inspection of the Pulaski County Jail was conducted through the viewing of surveillance video from areas within the facility including housing units and of specific use of force incidents involving detainees. In addition, ICE personnel, jail officials and detainees were questioned by investigators by telephone and video conferencing.

In its report, the inspector general’s office noted ICE has agreed to five recommendations designed to mitigate all the problems pointed out in the report.

Pulaski County Sheriff Randy Kern was unavailable for comment when his office was contacted by The Associated Press.

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