ACLU settles on facility

Here’s a story that's gotten too little attention. Federal officials had been accused of keeping suspected illegal immigrants in "barbaric" conditions in a downtown detention center. From AP:

The federal court agreement restricts detainees at the facility to 12 hours at a stretch except under unusual circumstances such as epidemics or natural disasters. It requires that they be provided with soap, access to attorneys and writing materials for those who need to prepare legal documents. The Monday agreement, which applies only to the downtown facility and runs until June of next year, "restores detainees' dignity and their right to due process," said Ahilan Arulanantham, director of immigrants rights and national security for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

The detention center is known as B-18, located in the basement of a downtown federal building. Many of the problems apparently were corrected after the lawsuit was filed in April.

"Immigrants were crowded into cells, sometimes waiting for hours without room to sit down," an ACLU statement said Wednesday. "Some had not been able to shower, brush their teeth, or change their clothes in weeks. Women asking for sanitary napkins were often ignored, and often forced to sleep on the floor for several days in a row." Other detainees were shuttled to overcrowded local jails for the night and then returned — a practice prohibited by the lawsuit settlement.

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