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Nooses found at ICE detention facility

October 2, 2018

Migrants being detained at an ICE facility in California regularly hang bed sheet “nooses” in their cells, violating detention rules and risking their own safety, the Homeland Security inspector general said in a report released Tuesday.

Despite one successful bed-sheet suicide and several other unsuccessful attempts at the Adelanto Center last year, the facility has not been able to stop detainees from hanging their sheets in their cells, the inspector general said.

During a visit in May investigators found 15 of the 20 male detainee cells they inspected had bed-sheet nooses hanging from vents.

“ICE must prioritize addressing the issue of sheets hanging in detainee cells, as they represent the potential to assist suicide acts,” the inspector general said.

Neither Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials nor guards at the facility thought the nooses were a problem, and according to one inmate even mocked those who’d failed in their attempt to use them for suicide.

“I’ve seen a few attempted suicides using the braided sheets by the vents and then the guards laugh at them and call them ‘suicide failures’ once they are back from medical,” one detainee told investigators.

Four detainees described the nooses more positively, though, saying they ensure quick privacy for the bathroom or bunk areas within the cell.

The sheets are tied at the top end to a vent and then the bottom is knotted up to keep it from dragging on the floor making them easy to unfurl across areas the detainees want to keep private.

But the danger for being used in suicide was too strong to ignore, the inspector general said.

The audit pointed out that a contractor who does daily checks at the Adelanto Center began sending weekly reports to ICE demanding action.

“ICE’s lack of response to address this matter at the Adelanto Center shows a disregard for detainee health and safety,” the inspector general concluded.

An ICE official told the auditors they didn’t believe it was a priority issue.

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