Freedom for Immigrants (formerly CIVIC) has been visiting and monitoring the Adelanto Detention Facility since 2012.

Most recently, we documented and filed a federal complaint in January 2017 regarding a pattern of increased visitation denials and restrictions.

Previously, in the Summer of 2014, we launched our Defund Detention in Adelanto Campaign, which contributed to the termination of a deal between the City of Adelanto and GEO Group to build a new prison, the rejection of a plan to house Los Angeles’ inmate population at a proposed facility to be built in Adelanto by one of the founders of Corrections Corporation of America, creation of a new permit scheme in Adelanto to protect First Amendment rights of prison protesters, and the creation of a neighborhood-led oversight committee.

We worked with Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) to draft a Congressional letter signed by over two dozen representatives, asking ICE to halt the expansion of the Adelanto Detention Center. With the ACLU of Southern California, we sent a formal complaint to ICE detailing medical abuse at the Adelanto Detention Center, and we sent a cease and desist letter to ICE and GEO regarding attorney access issues at Adelanto. We fought against the transfer of transgender women to the remote Adelanto Detention Facility, and we prevailed!

To summarize our work throughout 2014 and 2015, we partnered with the Detention Watch Network to launch a report called Abuse in Adelanto. We also partnered with Film Bliss Studios to create “Adelanto’s 10,000 Cages,” an investigative film that documents the economic impacts of prisons on one small town and abuse at the nation’s largest detention facility.



Abuse in Adelanto: An Investigation into a California Town’s Immigration Jail
Abuso en Adelanto: Una Investigación Sobre una Cárcel de Inmigración de una Ciudad de California
The report and film demonstrate the economic impact of the prison industrial complex in one small town. Despite widespread promises of economic prosperity and large federal contractors operating facilities, Adelanto continues to suffer from economic depression and teeters on bankruptcy.


  • A paralyzed man, Gerardo Corrales, was refused sterile catheter bags, leading to a life-threatening infection.
  • A man with a respiratory illness was denied medical attention until he passed out.
  • One epileptic man was denied a foam helmet to prevent injury during seizures.
  • Four separate instances of extreme physical abuse by GEO staff, one confirmed death, and one confirmed miscarriage at the facility.
  • 22 religious freedom violations