3 Ways Immigration Detention Centers Can Impact Detainees' Health

June 17, 2022

Action Immigration

More than 1 million immigrants come to the United States every year. Of these, about a quarter are then detained, for varying durations, in detention centers across the country.

The conditions in these facilities can be questionable at best. The worst environments are downright dangerous.

Overcrowding, cold temperatures, poor food quality, and inadequate medical care are major problems. These all lead to negative health impacts for detainees.

If you have loved ones in immigration detention centers, you may be wondering what threats they face. The information below covers three of the main risks to migrants' health. It also offers some guidance on how to best tackle these challenges.  

Decreased General Health

The most common impact of detention is on the general health of migrants. This includes malnutrition due to inadequate or poor food quality. Digestive problems are common in immigration detention centers for these reasons.

Inadequate sleep is another serious issue. Depending on the facility, detainees may have to sleep on the floor or in crowded rooms. Insomnia can lead to negative health outcomes, such as high blood pressure.

There is also a lack of specialty healthcare services in detention centers. This translates to untreated conditions that would be simple to cure outside of the facility. For instance, a detainee may spend months dealing with a rash that could be easily treated by basic dermatological care.

Communicable Diseases

Immigration detention centers are fertile ground for the rapid spread of disease. This is due to unsanitary living conditions and overcrowding.
In the last few years, facilities have seen outbreaks of influenza, varicella, and mumps. COVID-19 has been a particularly dangerous threat, due to how contagious it is.

Many of the diseases that affect detention centers are preventable. Others could be controlled through vaccination. But centers are often last on the list to receive vaccinations for new variants, and shortages persist after this.

Also, mandatory vaccination is controversial. Most centers only require it for children entering the facilities. All these dynamics make inhabitants of detention centers much more vulnerable to outbreaks.

Mental Health

Being detained for even a short period can have harmful effects on an individual’s mental health. The lack of liberty and disconnection from one’s family can weigh on individuals. The threat of violence and uncertainty about the future can all lead to serious mental health conditions.

Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are all common conditions among detainees. Also, these diseases can persist for years after release.

The lack of psychological care can make existing mental health challenges even worse. This means that simple signs of mental decline slip through the cracks. This is alarming since, the longer mental health disorders go untreated, the more quickly an individual can decline.

Find Help With Release From Immigration Detention Centers

Now that you know the ways in which immigration detention centers can impact detainees' health, you can work to address them. Getting your loved one out of these environments is the best thing you can do for their health and well-being.

At Action Immigration Bonds, we can help you navigate detainment. Our multilingual staff are available around the clock, seven days a week. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation about securing an immigration bond.

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