U.S. officials plan to create transparent system of control over immigrant detainees and to better their living conditions.
Nonviolent immigrant detainees could be housed in converted hotels or nursing homes or given electronic ankle bracelets for monitoring as part of a series of changes planned for the nation’s detention system, Department of Homeland Security officials announced yesterday.
The changes are part of a detailed plan to overhaul a system that houses an average of 32,000 detainees - including women and children - every day across the country and has been criticized for its unsafe and inhumane conditions.
“This is a system that encompasses many different types of detainees, not all of whom need to be held in prison-like circumstances or jail-like circumstances, which not only may be unnecessary but more expensive,’’ Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.
The department plans to build two new detention centers. Napolitano said that some detainees have violent criminal pasts and need to be securely detained, but others are asylum seekers with no records and should be housed at facilities “commensurate with the risks that they present.’’
In August, John Morton, Immigration and Customs Enforcement assistant secretary, pledged to create a more centralized system to increase oversight and accountability.
The department immediately began reviewing more than 350 contracts with local jails, state prisons, and private facilities with plans to centralize the management of those contracts. Officials also are doubling the number of personnel to monitor the facilities that house more than 80 % of detainees and are developing an online system to help families find relatives in the system, according to Boston Globe's report.