With Mass Deportation Comes Mass Punishment

Punitive Capacity, Health, and Standards in U.S. Immigrant Detention

Authored by: David Hernández , John M. Eason , Pat Rubio Goldsmith , Richard D. Abel , Andrew McNeely

Routledge Handbook on Immigration and Crime

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138668416
eBook ISBN: 9781317211563
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter addresses contemporary conditions of incarceration for immigrant detainees being processed for deportation from the U.S. We introduce punitive capacity as a metric of detention facilities’ varied abilities to punish migrants while incarcerated—that is, the technologies of control available to jailers to manage and impose physical/emotional violence upon administrative detainees. In the chapter, we juxtapose punitive capacity with the current audit system for detention facilities that routinely licenses facilities for continued contracting with the Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). The empirical findings demonstrate that the average detainee is routinely exposed to violence. We conclude the chapter by couching our findings in the political transition from the Obama to the Trump presidential administrations. We predict an increase in exposure to violence within an expanding public and private detention system.

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