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New Report Documents Human Rights Failures in Minnesota Jails

March 3, 2021

March 3, 2021

(Minneapolis, MN)

A new report by The Advocates for Human Rights, the James H. Binger Center for New Americans, and the Minnesota Immigrant Health Alliance finds that Minnesota jails with federal immigration contracts fail to meet human rights standards. Immigration Detention and COVID-19: Illuminating Human Rights Concerns in Minnesota Jails documents how lack of clearly defined standards, oversight, and accountability mechanisms, coupled with a system driven largely by cost and revenue concerns, have led to serious failures relating to health care and safety, solitary confinement, and due process. 

"Our findings reflect a confluence of two systems long plagued by violations," says Robin Phillips, executive director of The Advocates for Human Rights. "It's no surprise that, when the systems came under stress due to the pandemic, human rights violations resulted."

The sprawling federal immigration detention system has drawn serious criticism for decades. Meanwhile, horrific accounts of medical neglect in Minnesota jails have led to an effort at the Minnesota legislature to introduce state oversight over jails for the first time. The report documents ongoing problems with basic medical and mental health care, prolonged solitary confinement in violation of international standards, and serious due process violations.