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ICE Detention Standards

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations’ (ERO) mission is to protect the homeland through the arrest and removal of noncitizens who undermine the safety of our nation’s communities and the integrity of U.S. immigration laws.

ICE ERO manages all aspects of the immigration enforcement process — including the detention of noncitizens in facilities nationwide during the pendency of their immigration proceedings.

ICE leverages a diverse detention network, including private facilities, to provide for the safety, security and care of those in ICE custody. Regardless of whether detention facilities are owned and operated by ICE, a state or local entity, or a contractor, each detention facility adheres to one of several sets of ICE national detention standards which describe a facility’s immigration detention responsibilities, explain what detainee services a facility must provide, and identify what a facility must do to ensure a safe and secure detention environment for staff and noncitizens in detention:

  • National Detention Standards (NDS) 2000: When ICE was formed in 2003, its detention system operated under a set of National Detention Standards (NDS) issued in September 2000. These standards governed many of ICE’s detention facility requirements — conditions of confinement, program operations and management expectations.
  • Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) 2008: In 2008, ICE updated the National Detention Standards. The Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS 2008) was developed in coordination with agency stakeholders to improve safety, security and conditions of confinement for detained noncitizens.
  • PBNDS 2011: In 2011, ICE further revised its detention standards to reflect the agency’s ongoing efforts to tailor the conditions of immigration detention to its unique purpose. These updated standards — referred to as PBNDS 2011 —maintain a safe and secure detention environment for staff and detained noncitizens by improving medical and mental health services, increasing access to legal services and religious opportunities, improving communication with noncitizens with limited English proficiency, streamlining the process for reporting and responding to complaints, and increasing recreation and visitation.
    In 2016, ICE further revised these detention standards to ensure consistency with federal legal and regulatory requirements.
  • NDS 2019: In 2019, ICE issued updated detention standards referred to as NDS 2019. These updated standards apply to ICE’s intergovernmental service agreement (IGSA) facilities that formerly operated under NDS 2000, U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) facilities used by ICE to house detained noncitizens, and facilities that do not reach the threshold for ICE annual inspections. NDS 2019 streamlines several prior standards and incorporates additions that address important topics such as medical care, segregation, disability access, sexual assault and abuse prevention and intervention, and language access.
Updated: 02/24/2023