Report on conditions at West County Detention Facility
The West County Detention Facility (WCDF) is located in Richmond, CA. In July of 2018, the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office decided to end the facility’s contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after months of protests following reports of human and civil rights violations.
Freedom for Immigrants has been visiting the facility since 2012 in an effort to end the isolation of detained individuals and to monitor the facility. Following the termination of the contract, Freedom for Immigrants worked with community leaders and formerly detained individuals to illustrate the conditions at WCDF.
The Immigrant Defenders Research Group (IDRG) conducted this participatory research project in the fall of 2018. The IDRG is made up of six co-researchers who were formerly in ICE detention at WCDF and directed this project utilizing participatory research methodology. Because not all of their immigration cases have been resolved, they have declined to share their names publicly at this time to avoid retaliation from ICE.
The IDRG chose the six most concerning issues at WCDF to highlight in this report:
1) Disrespectful treatment from detention facility officers
2) Inadequate and unhealthy food
3) Inadequate free time and programming
4) Disturbed sleep and medical neglect
5) Unacceptable working conditions through the “voluntary work program”
6) Barriers to maintaining ties with family and friends