Report Alleges Inadequate Medical Treatment of Female Immigrant Detainees in Arizona
Women held in three of Arizona's five immigrant detention facilities receive inadequate medical care, according to a report released on Tuesday by University of Arizona's Southwest Institute for Research on Women, the AP/Tucson Citizen reports. Arizona is the nation's biggest crossing point for undocumented immigrants, according to the AP/Citizen. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials use five detention centers in the state to house 3,000 of 28,750 immigration detainees held daily nationwide.
For the report, third-year law students interviewed 42 people, including 21 women who were or had once been a detainee in the state. Two of the detainees were family members of the researchers and 19 were lawyers or social workers. The report focused on issues such as failing to recognize the mental health needs of the detainee, family separation, inadequate access to telephones and legal materials, and the penal conditions, such as shackling of women who are not being held for criminal offenses, according to the AP/Citizen.
The researchers cited specific cases, including a woman who was six-months pregnant and went without prenatal care for more than one month and another woman with cervical cancer who waited several months to see a nurse and was seen by an oncologist only after an emergency. Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of the Arizona Civil Liberties Union, said, "The sad thing is that these horror stories continue."
Katrina Kane, Arizona ICE detention and removal field director, said that those interviewed represent less than 0.0003% of the more than 72,000 immigrant detainee population in Arizona before being deported in fiscal year 2008. She added that all the medical facilities ICE uses are required to comply with the agency's national detention medical standards, and detainees are allowed to make no-cost phone calls to designated officials and legal organizations and counsel (Rotstein, AP/Tucson Citizen, 1/14).