Saturday, November 08, 2008

Private Immigration Detention Center in WA Hired Guards Without Background Checks

According to Gene Johnson of the Associated Press, Immigration Lockup Hired 92 Guards Without Vetting (published in the Seattle Times).

From November 2005 until early 2008, staff at the Northwest Detention Center, a detention center paid by ICE and privately run by the for-profit GEO Group Inc. in the Tacoma, Washington area, hired 92 guards without conducting background checks. The detention center had a system where the contractor had sole responsibility to review applicants.

At the center run by GEO Group, prospective guards are supposed to have a preliminary background check done, which is followed up after they start work with a more thorough check. The Seattle Times reports that according to documents related to a guilty plea, Sylvia Wong was the administrator in charge of hiring at the center and when ICE officials questioned her in March 2008 about allowing guards to work without finishing the background checks, she made a false statement about whether she had manufactured forms that stated the guards had finished the checks.

It took ICE over two years to discover the lapse in the hiring process. After background checks were done, some of the guards were fired.

With publicity increasing about allegations of inadequate medical care in immigration detention facilities run by contractors, the breach of policies to ensure that qualified applicants are hired as guards raises a question about whether alleged inadequate medical care might be a product of poor procedures, a lack of control by the contractors, and insufficient oversight by ICE.


Post a Comment

<< Home