Secretary Napolitano, Abolish Solitary Confinement in Immigration Facilities!
Dear Secretary Napolitano
As a supporter of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), I urge you to end the use of solitary confinement in all immigration detention facilities. By ending this practice, the U.S. would send a strong signal to the entire international community that it does not tolerate torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading practices in its detention policy.As PHR's research has demonstrated, solitary confinement leads to severe psychological and physiological harm. These detrimental effects are exacerbated for people who have endured torture and abuse, which is common among immigration detainees who have fled violence or persecution in their home countries.Placing anyone in solitary confinement for indefinite and prolonged periods of time is an outrage, but this practice is especially abhorrent in the immigration setting where detainees are not being held as punishment for a crime, but only to ensure court appearance. Additionally, detainees usually are unrepresented by counsel and unable to challenge their detention or assignment to solitary confinement.As you work toward the swift abolishment of solitary confinement in immigration detention facilities, please take immediate steps to ensure that solitary confinement is used only in very exceptional cases, for as short a time as possible, and only as a last resort; that it is never used as a means of controlling or punishing mentally ill detainees; and that people held in solitary confinement have daily access to medical and mental health care.
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