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Detention Management

Fact Sheet
November 10, 2011

The Detention Management Division, part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), oversees the nation’s largest civil detention system, which holds a highly transient and diverse detainee population. ICE’s detention system houses men, women and families representing virtually every country in the world. Meeting the unique and ever-shifting needs of such a variegated population is a major challenge, and the division takes seriously its responsibility for providing a safe, secure and humane environment for detainees.

The Detention Management Division currently houses detainees in more than 250 local and state facilities. Nearly 67 percent of the ICE detained population are housed in local or state facilities, 17 percent are housed in contract detention facilities, 13 percent are housed in ICE-owned facilities (service processing centers), and 3 percent are housed in Bureau of Prisons facilities, which are funded either through congressional appropriations to the bureau or through ICE reimbursement.

Illegal aliens who are apprehended and determined to need custodial supervision are placed in detention facilities. Those who are released from custody constitute ERO's non-detained docket. Every case, whether detained or non-detained, remains part of ERO's caseload and is actively managed until it is formally closed. In Fiscal Year 2011, ICE received approval for a total funded average daily population of approximately 33,400 detention beds. The average daily population increased by nearly 20 percent from an average of 27,990 in Fiscal Year 2007 to an average of 33,330 in Fiscal Year 2011. These numbers exclude Mexican Interior Repatriation Program (MIRP) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) cases.

Through an aggressive inspections program, the Detention Management Division ensures its facilities follow ICE's national detention standards. These standards were originally issued in 2000 to facilitate consistent conditions of confinement, access to legal representation and safe and secure operations across the detention system.

In 2007, ICE, in consultation with agency stakeholders (e.g. non-governmental organizations), reviewed the national detention standards and revised them to performance based national detention standards. The performance based detention standards focus on results and/or outcomes expected from the ICE detention system.

In December of 2008, ICE published the 41 standards of the 2008 performance based national detention standards. The implementation of these new and improved standards was a milestone in the agency’s commitment to ensure that detainees in ICE custody reside in safe, secure, and humane environments and under appropriate conditions of confinement. The 2008 performance based detention standards are better tailored to the unique needs of ICE’s detained population. They improve access to quality medical care, counsel, visitation and religious practices. Moreover, through an aggressive inspections program, ICE ensures its facilities follow the 2008 performance based national detention standards in order to ensure the welfare, safety and living conditions of detainees.

In 2009, ICE undertook a major detention reform effort to improve management and administration of the civil detention process for aliens held in ERO custody. This reform effort included the creation of the On-Site Detention Compliance Oversight Program. The On-Site Detention Compliance Oversight Program is comprised of a corps of more than 40 new federal detention site monitors posted at each of its major detention facilities who, on a consistent basis, inspect to ensure that its contractors meet requirements, respond to and report on problems and collaborate with contracting officers regarding cost adjustments as appropriate.

As of November 2011, the 51 total facilities under the purview of the detention site monitors comprise 80 percent of Detention Management Division’s average daily population. The detention site monitors provide ICE headquarters with a weekly report that documents problems identified within the facilities and the corrective actions taken to remedy them. These reports, along with other useful compliance tools, are analyzed by ICE senior leaders. ICE senior leadership then ensures remedial plans are implemented and determine whether ICE should continue to use a particular facility.

Other detention compliance mechanisms within the Detention Management Division include a robust inspection program that ensures safe, appropriate, and humane conditions are rigorously applied and enforced in facilities that house ICE detainees. The facility inspection process utilized by the division provides both structure and a schedule for compliance with ICE national detention standards and ICE policy. ICE maintains a list of facilities that are authorized to house ICE detainees, and removes detainees from facilities that are not in compliance with its Detention Management Compliance Program.