Policy Analysis – Solitary Confinement, Civilly Detained Individuals and Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement


Jannice Cebreros

Faculty Mentor(s)

Christine Henderson (Law & Justice)


In the United States, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers are for-profit and privately owned. Privately own detention centers are often affected by profit motives. In ICE detention centers, there are numerous allegations of abuse and unhygienic living conditions. Solitary confinement is a commonly used form of punishment in ICE detention centers, meant to be civil, not criminal. ICE personnel are not adequately trained on mental health and have placed detainees with mental illnesses in solitary confinement, resulting in devastating consequences to both government, institutions, and individuals. The use of solitary confinement on civilly detained individuals has led to controversy concerning the appropriateness of solitary confinement as a form of punishment in civil detention centers and the Eighth Amendment against cruel and unusual punishment in the United States Constitution. Hunger strikes and, unfortunately, deaths have occurred from the amount of abuse and inadequate living conditions that detainees have been subjected to in ICE detention centers. By analyzing the ICE “Placement in Solitary Confinement” policy and the implementation of solitary confinement within ICE detention centers, it is possible to learn more about policy effects on both an institutional and an individual level. This policy analysis provides a secondary analysis review of the discretionary use of solitary confinement in ICE detention centers, the effects of solitary confinement, and alternative solutions to the existing policy.

Keywords: Immigration, Solitary Confinement, Civil


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