'Disease outbreaks and a lack of medical personnel await those imprisoned in Victorville, California.' Prison staff in Victorville say immigrant detainees are treated like 'cockroaches.' There's already an outbreak of scabies and a case of chicken pox among the detainees.
They're being housed in FCI VICTORVILLE MEDIUM I, shown in the image in this blog post and described on the Board of Prisons website as 'A medium security federal correctional institution.'
It's for male prisoners, with 1,528 total inmates listed.
This facility began receiving a group of 1,000 immigration detainees on June 8.
Huffpo reports that the detainees' initial medical screenings were rushed, and comprehensive checkups will not be completed within the standard the two-week period.
Excerpt from Huffington Post reporter Lauren Weber:
The employees raised concerns about how their understaffed department could be contributing to a lack of screening that could have dangerous, even deadly consequences. And while Victorville stands out, the Justice Department had previously identified inadequate medical staffing as a key issue across the Bureau of Prisons in a 2016 inspector general’s report.
Staffers held a protest outside the prison last week over the arrival of the detainees, holding signs that said, “Budget cuts will result in death!”
“Our medical department, as well as some others, are in absolute need of staff and have been for some time,” John Kostelnik, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3969 and a case manager for the prison, told HuffPost. Even before “getting detainees, we didn’t have the staffing to provide proper medical care.”
Kostelnik pointed to the death of an inmate on June 19. The inmate, who was part of the existing prison population, not a detainee, died by suicide. Kostelnik believes that a more robust monitoring process could have lowered the risk of the inmate’s death.
“It’s gone from bad to worse ― there are going to be some detainee deaths,” a current medical staffer who corroborated Kostelnik’s account of the death, told HuffPost. This staffer requested anonymity for fear of retaliation after staff was warned not to talk to the press.
The prisoner numbers are in flux, but Kostelnik estimated that about 1,000 detainees joined the 3,500 inmates already at the complex, which consists of a high-security U.S. penitentiary, a low-security satellite campus for female inmates and two medium-security prisons. The detainees are being housed in one of the medium-security prisons. No additional permanent staff were added to assist in their care, Kostelnik said.