Local Detention Center Alleged to Retaliate Against Whistleblowers
Thursday, February 21, 2008
More problems have come to light at a federal immigration detention center in San Diego. In addition to alleged overcrowding and inadequate medical care, an attorney has filed a complaint with federal government saying guards retaliate against detainees for reporting problems at the facility. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has the story.
Attorney Karla Kraus says the problems began on her client, Martina Romero's, first day at the CCA detention center.
Kraus says Romero told her guards yelled at, mocked and threatened her for standing up for herself and others.
And Kraus says it got worse from there. She Romero told her when detainees tried to pick up forms to file complaints, officers asked them: ‘Do you really want to do that? Are you trying to make trouble?’
Kraus says further, after Romero and 17 others talked to ACLU attorneys, guards put the women on lockdown for a day.
She says Romero was put in segregation for a week because guards suspected she organized the women to speak out.
Kraus : Martina is a lesson. If you act up -- if you start seeking help and complaining -- this is what's going to happen to you.
Federal officials say they're investigating. They say many items presented as facts in the complaint are untrue. They wouldn’t specify which.
Amy Isackson, KPBS News.
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