A trove of government documents sheds new light on the widespread use of solitary confinement for immigrant detainees in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody under both the Obama and Trump administrations, NBC News reported.
The documents paint a disturbing portrait of a system where detainees are sometimes forced into extended periods of isolation — half of the time for reasons that have nothing to do with violating any rules, like being disabled, identifying as gay or reporting abuse from guards or other detainees.
"We have created and continue to support a system that involves widespread abuse of human beings," said Ellen Gallagher, a policy adviser at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who is speaking publicly for the first time after spending five years trying to sound the alarm within the federal government about people "being brutalized."
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An ICE spokesperson defended its use of the practice in a statement to NBC News: "The use of restrictive housing in ICE detention facilities is exceedingly rare, but at times necessary, to ensure the safety of staff and individuals in a facility."