Immigration Law

ICE Jail in Colorado Uses Solitary Confinement

Susan Greene, Colorado Independent, Aug. 6, 2019

"ICE has a long, yet little-known record of holding detainees in solitary confinement – a term the agency forcefully rejects, preferring “segregation” in “Restricted Housing Units” (RMUs) or “Special Management Units” (SMUs), instead. Whatever the nomenclature, ICE is isolating some detainees 22 to 23 hours a day in cells less than half the size of a standard parking space, with little more human contact than the hand that slides a food tray through a door slot and the hand that comes to retrieve it.

Although most state governments don’t entrust private corrections companies to impose solitary confinement, the federal government allows the GEO Group, Inc. – one of the nation’s largest such companies – to do so at its processing center in Aurora. 

The 33-year-old center, located in an industrial area a few blocks from the northeastern Denver border, holds detainees, including asylum-seekers, who have been rounded up by ICE agents or flown in from the borders. Of its 1,532 beds, 48 are in cells designed for solitary confinement. They are 84 square feet and windowless, each with a toilet, sink and bed."