NYCLU: COVID-19 precautions at ICE facility inadequate

Mar 17, 2020

Due to the close confines and high risk for exposure, jails are one of the prime places for an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. This has caused concern from the New York Civil Liberties Union about the ICE detention facility in Batavia.

Credit Buffalo Federal Detention Facility

The NYCLU sent a letter to the facility’s leadership detailing gaps in ICE’s nationwide procedural facility guidelines.

The NYCLU’s additional recommendations were developed along with Dr. Jaimie Meyer of Yale University, an expert on infectious disease in correctional facilities. NYCLU Staff Attorney Victoria Roeck said their main concern is how the facility will practice social distancing.

“If 40%-50% of people at Batavia could be contracting this virus,” she said. “Which are the numbers we’ve been seeing out of Italy, then it’s unlikely the facility has enough bed space to be able to isolate people the way they need to, to stop the spread.”

Roeck says the letter recommends letting people who are considered a low flight risk or have a high risk of catching the virus out a form of conditional release, which include a GPS monitoring system or frequent check-ins to ICE offices.