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2019 National Detention Standards for Non-Dedicated Facilities

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is issuing the ICE National Detention Standards (NDS) 2019. These detention standards will apply to the approximately 45 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Intergovernmental Service Agreement (IGSA) facilities currently operating under the NDS, approximately 35 United States Marshals Service (USMS) facilities used by ICE and which ICE inspects against the NDS, as well as approximately 60 facilities (both IGSA and USMS) which do not reach the threshold for ICE annual inspections – generally those with an Average Daily Population of less than 10. These are facilities across the country where ICE’s state and local law enforcement partners successfully manage their own populations under federal, state, and local regulations, and assist ICE with housing immigration detainees to enforce immigration laws and improve national safety and security.

Based on ICE’s experience with its state and local law enforcement partners, and the understanding that local practice appropriately covers many requirements that were explicitly enumerated in NDS, NDS 2019 streamlines several prior standards. NDS 2019 also incorporates substantive additions, addressing topics such as medical care, segregation, disability access, sexual assault and abuse prevention and intervention, and language access.

These updated, modernized standards focus on ICE’s essential requirements, encourage greater communication between facilities and their local ICE field offices, and provide a comprehensive list of circumstances in which such communication is required.

Click on a heading below to view specific information for each topic.

Overview

  • 2019 National Detention Standards Overview (PDF | 57 KB)

Part 1 – Safety

  • 1.1 Environmental Health and Safety (PDF | 75 KB)
  • 1.2 Transportation by Land (PDF | 72 KB)

Part 2 – Security

  • 2.1 Admission and Release (PDF | 53 KB)
  • 2.2 Custody Classification System (PDF | 52 KB)
  • 2.3 Facility Security and Control (PDF | 55 KB)
  • 2.4 Funds and Personal Property (PDF | 52KB)
  • 2.5 Hold Rooms in Detention Facilities (PDF | 53 KB)
  • 2.6 Post Orders (PDF | 45 KB)
  • 2.7 Searches of Detainees (PDF | 71 KB)
    • Model Policy: Searches of Detainees (PDF | 63 KB)
  • 2.8 Use of Force and Restraints (PDF | 81 KB)
  • 2.9 Special Management Units (PDF | 129 KB)
  • 2.10 Staff-Detainee Communication (PDF | 76 KB)
  • 2.11 Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention and Intervention (PDF | 170 KB)
    • Model Policy: Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention and Intervention (SAAPI) (PDF | 172 KB)

Part 3 – Order

  • 3.1 Disciplinary System (PDF | 86 KB)

Part 4 – Care

  • 4.1 Food Service (PDF | 115 KB)
  • 4.2 Hunger Strikes (PDF | 81 KB)
  • 4.3 Medical Care (PDF | 163 KB)
  • 4.4 Personal Hygiene (PDF | 76 KB)
  • 4.5 Significant Self-Harm and Suicide Prevention and Intervention (PDF | 87 KB)
  • 4.6 Terminal Illness and Death (PDF | 73 KB)
  • 4.7 Disability Identification, Assessment, and Accommodation (PDF | 103 KB)
    • Model Policy: Disability Identification, Assessment, and Accommodation (PDF | 102 KB)

Part 5 – Activities

  • 5.1 Correspondence and Other Mail (PDF | 83 KB)
  • 5.2 Recreation (PDF | 75 KB)
  • 5.3 Religious Practices (PDF | 78 KB)
  • 5.4 Telephone Access (PDF | 88 KB)
  • 5.5 Visitation (PDF | 122 KB)
  • 5.6 Voluntary Work Program (PDF | 75 KB)

Part 6 – Justice

  • 6.1 Detainee Handbook (PDF | 71 KB)
  • 6.2 Grievance System (PDF | 78 KB)
  • 6.3 Law Libraries and Legal Materials (PDF | 89 KB)
  • 6.4 Legal Rights Group Presentations (PDF | 77 KB)

Part 7 – Administration and Management

  • 7.1 Detention Files (PDF | 77 KB)
  • 7.2 Detainee Transfers (PDF | 80 KB)

Appendices

  • Appendix A: List of Required Staff Training (PDF | 77 KB)
  • Appendix B: ICE Reporting Requirements (PDF | 89 KB)
  • Appendix C: Contents of the Local Supplement (PDF | 71 KB)
  • Appendix D: Definitions (PDF | 121 KB)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What has changed?

Specific areas of change include:

The NDS 2019 streamlined a number of prior standards based on ICE’s experience with local law enforcement partners and the understanding that existing local practices appropriately cover these requirements.

  • Streamlined standards include: Emergency Plans; Marriage Requests; Non-Medical Emergency Escorted Trips; Contraband; Population Counts; Key and Lock Control; Tool Control; Food Service; Environmental Health and Safety; Security Inspections; and Voluntary Work Program.

In the revision, there are additional standards with substantive additions, which include topics such as:

  • Medical Care: Significant detail was added to the medical care standard to address screenings, mental health care, and the specific medical care needs of female detainees. 
  • Segregation: The NDS 2019 streamlined two sections on Special Management Units into a single comprehensive standard and included new requirements from the 2013 ICE Directive, “Review of the Use of Segregation for ICE Detainees” such as notifications, oversight, and limitations on the use of segregation.
  • Language Access: Areas where language access is particularly important have been included with specific provisions throughout the NDS 2019.

These updated, streamlined standards focus on ICE’s essential requirements, encourage greater communication between facilities and local ICE field offices, and provide a comprehensive list of circumstances in which such communication is required.

Reflecting changes in law, policy and practice, three new standards have been added:

  • Detainee Searches: In the NDS 2000 the standard on searches was reserved. This new standard incorporates the best practices from the ICE Performance Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) 2011 and clearly outlines facility requirements. 
  • Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention and Intervention: The revisions incorporate the requirements of DHS Final Rule, 6 CFR Part 115, Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Sexual Abuse and Assault in Confinement Facilities, also known as the DHS Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Standards (March 7, 2014).
  • Disability Identification, Assessment, and Accommodation: Pursuant to applicable federal and state law, facilities are obligated to provide detainees with disabilities the accommodations, auxiliary aids, and modifications to policies, practices, and/or procedures necessary to allow them an equal opportunity to access, participate in, or benefit from detention programs, services, and activities.

ICE also provides model policies for these new standards. This allows the facilities the ability to adopt/incorporate these model policies into their daily practice/operations.

Where will NDS 2019 be implemented?

The NDS 2019 will be implemented at all existing NDS 2000 facilities and specific facilities under the PBNDS 2008 that are better suited for these standards, as well as facilities that are unable to meet the more robust requirements of PBNDS 2011.

How and when will NDS 2019 be implemented?

The new standards must be implemented through individual contract modifications with facilities. This can require detailed and lengthy negotiations with contractors, so the implementation process may last several months.

Why the need to revise the standards?

The original NDS were issued in 2000 (PBNDS 2008 and PBNDS 2011 evolved from these standards) by the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), one of ICE’s predecessor agencies.  In the past 18 years, much has changed in detention practices and immigration enforcement, including the growth of a network of dedicated immigration detention facilities, which are now largely covered by a separate set of standards – the PBNDS 2011. However, because of the scope of immigration enforcement and the importance of collaboration with local law enforcement agencies, ICE must continue relying on some state and local facilities to house detainees. This updated version of the NDS streamlines many of the original requirements and provides additional requirements stipulated by changes in relevant law, policy, and practice similar to the PBNDS 2011. ICE is confident in the ability of its state and local partners to lawfully, safely, and humanely manage detainees in a correctional setting. This is reflected in the updates to this version of the NDS.

Do these standards reduce or eliminate prior standards? If so, why?

This updated version of the NDS streamlines many of the original requirements and provides additional requirements stipulated by changes in relevant law, policy, and practice similar to the PBNDS. The revised NDS eliminate or greatly reduce a number of prior standards based on ICE’s experience with local law enforcement partners and the understanding that existing local practices appropriately cover some of these requirements. Eliminated or condensed standards include: Emergency Plans; Marriage Requests; Non-Medical Emergency Escorted Trips; Contraband; Population Counts; Key and Lock Control; and Tool Control. Many standards have also been streamlined, including:  Food Service; Environmental Health and Safety; Security Inspections; and Voluntary Work Program. Two prior NDS standards regarding Administrative and Disciplinary Special Management Units were condensed into one standard.

Does this impact places where family units are held?

No, ICE family residential centers are managed by a separate set of family residential standards.

Does NDS 2019 replace PBNDS 2011?

No, PBNDS 2011 remains a separate set of standards. However, the revised NDS incorporate the some PBNDS 2011 requirements that were not in the NDS 2000 including: Detainee Searches, Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention and Intervention, Medical Care (Women), and Disability Identification, Assessment, and Accommodation. Additionally, three appendices are included in the current draft of the revised standards: Appendix A: List of Required Staff Training; Appendix B: ICE Reporting Requirements; and Appendix C: Definitions.

Is ICE concerned about the new standards appropriately addressing the unique needs of the ICE-managed detainee population at more than 200...

Is ICE concerned about the new standards appropriately addressing the unique needs of the ICE-managed detainee population at more than 200 non-dedicated facilities across the country?

State and local law enforcement partners successfully manage their own populations under federal, state and local regulations. While ICE’s population level at most of these facilities is small, ICE is confident that local practices and procedures appropriately cover the non-specific ICE areas of the facility operations.

Updated: 03/11/2021