Report details human rights violations at Northwest Detention Center

A report completed by Seattle University School of Law's International Human Rights Clinic details serious human rights violations at the Northwest Detention Center.

The findings of Voices from Detention: A Report on Human Rights Violations at the Northwest Detention Center, is the first in-depth study of conditions at the NWDC in Tacoma. It is a collaboration of the Seattle University School of Law's International Human Rights Clinic and OneAmerica (formerly Hate Free Zone). It found violations of international human rights law, the Constitution and the Refugee Convention, including lack of due process, mistreatment of detainees (including strip searches), insufficient food and medical care and language barriers, among others.

Findings of the report include the following and more:

  • Overcrowding with double the number of detainees past what the facility was originally designed for. It is also designed for short term stays while detainees are held up to four years
  • Violations of international law and due process violations
  • Guard and federal marshal misconduct
  • Inadequate access to medical care, especially emergency care
  • Poor food quality and low quantity to maintain detainee health
  • Inadequate treatment of the mentally ill

Law students and Professor Gwynne Skinner and Raven Lidman of the The International Human Rights Clinic conducted research for the report, along with staff from OneAmerica. They spent eight months interviewing detainees and had two tours of the facility.

"The federal government has not lived up to its obligations," Skinner said.

Read the executive summary here or download the entire report.

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