September 15, 2020

LaSalle Corrections runs eleven detention centers in Louisiana, many with well-documented reports of abuse

NEW ORLEANS – The ACLU of Louisiana issued the following statement regarding a whistleblower complaint asserting high rates of hysterectomies being performed on immigrant detainees at a detention center in Georgia run by LaSalle Corrections. In April, the ACLU released a report documenting abysmal conditions in three LaSalle-operated detention centers in Louisiana.

“These disturbing reports demand an immediate investigation and decisive action by state and federal officials to protect people trapped in these dehumanizing and life-threatening conditions,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “Subjecting immigrants to forced hysterectomies is a reprehensible and sickening violation of basic human rights that harkens back to a shameful history of unwanted sterilization programs in the U.S. For months, we have been sounding the alarm about the brutal conditions and abysmal medical care at ICE detention facilities operated by LaSalle Corrections, many of which have become tinderboxes for COVID-19. State and federal officials must act now to release people from these gruesome conditions before more lives are lost or destroyed.” 

The ACLU’s report, “Justice-Free Zones: U.S. Immigration Detention Under the Trump Administration," combined quantitative and qualitative data from visits to five detention centers, including three in Louisiana: Winn Correctional Center, Richwood Correctional Center, and Jackson Parish Correctional Center, which are all run by LaSalle Corrections.

The report found that people are held in conditions that are inhumane, and access to medical care is paltry — even before the pandemic.

On March 31, 2020 the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the ACLU of Louisiana filed an emergency motion seeking the immediate review of parole requests from asylum seekers who remain under the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) amid the spread of COVID-19 in ICE detention centers.  The filing was part of their lawsuit against the Trump administration for categorically denying release to hundreds of people who are languishing in immigration prisons after lawfully seeking asylum in the United States. In September 2019, the U.S. District Court of Columbia granted a preliminary injunction requiring DHS and the ICE New Orleans Field Office to immediately restore the procedures of parole and access to parole, as mandated by DHS’ own 2009 Parole Directive and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.