As of Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Starting last Friday, July 13, the regional jail began listing the previous criminal history of immigration detainees held at the jail as a transparency move, the jail administrator said.
A new tab on the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility website’s “adult inmates” page says “ICE & US Marshals,” said Jail Administrator Bryan Brandenburg.
It does not provide any identifying information about the 30 detainees, such as name or age or town, but lists previous criminal histories including domestic violence, sex crimes, and drug crimes.
Brandenburg said he informed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement he would be putting the list on the website, but without identifying information, since the law prohibits releasing such information.
“I just let them know what my thinking was and it satisfied the statute because it’s not identifying anyone,” Brandenburg said.
He said he was doing it in an effort “to appease the Gorge ICE Resisters and to clarify and have transparency of who actually is in NORCOR.”
He said, “We’re not housing people who are just here illegally.”
The Gorge ICE Resistance group formed last year and opposed the housing of ICE detainees at the regional jail. Group members have picketed the regional jail daily for over 14 months.
Brandenburg has said since last year that people brought by ICE to the regional jail have current or prior criminal history, and that they have final deportation orders.
When he has learned of people brought to the jail who were only in the country illegally, and had not committed a crime, he said he has sent them back to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.
Solea Kabakov, a spokesperson for Gorge ICE Resistance, said in a statement, “NORCOR is clearly trying to distract away from the recent news of their 81 violations of federal law. They need to join the other two local jails in Oregon, Springfield and Josephine County and end their contract with ICE.”
Willamette Week on July 11 published an article saying it obtained more than 200 pages of records from a December 2017 federal inspection of the jail, which said the jail “failed to provide detainees with proper clothing, neglected food safety protocols and unnecessarily strip-searched immigrants.”
While 81 violations were found, the jail was still rated “acceptable,” according to the article.
The article quoted an immigration attorney who said detainees who knew they’d be strip searched after meeting with their attorney would be less willing to meet with counsel and assist in preparation of their case.
Strip searches are only supposed to be done with reasonable suspicion a detainee has contraband, the article stated.
The jail was also supposed to provide a daily change of underwear and socks, but the jail provided two exchanges of underwear a week and no socks.
The jail failed the food inspection “because of its poor food safety protocols and near total lack of training for food handlers,” the article said. The kitchen cleanliness was called “marginal” by inspectors.
Brandenburg said the Willamette Week article “was false and misleading.” He said everything mentioned was dealt with at the time the audit team was in the facility and all the items were fixed.
“Nobody gets strip searched when they visit their attorney,” Brandenburg said.
The NORCOR Community Resources Coalition also weighed in, saying, “None of the ICE detainees at NORCOR have any active or pending criminal charges. If they did, those charges would have placed them in the criminal system before they were released to ICE. These are charges for which they may have done time at any previous date in their lifetime.”