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Virginia Detention Centers 101

By Madhvi Bahl

Team UUWL!
Oct 2 · 3 min read
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There are five migrant detention centers in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area, two of which are in Virginia, located in Caroline and Prince Edward counties. Local town and county officials profiteer off the unethical detention of migrants, bringing in millions of dollars a year at the expense of our community members. Both detention centers operate through intergovernmental services agreements (IGSA), a malignant form of contracting ICE has used for years to hand out billions to private prison companies while bypassing the public bidding process. Violence, brutality, medical neglect, and human rights abuses have been documented at both detention facilities in Virginia. Get to know the detention centers in our backyards, and join us in ending ICE detention in Virginia! Tell Virginia elected officials to #FreeThemAll!

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ICA-Farmville

The Farmville detention center is owned and operated by the private prison company Immigrant Centers of America (ICA). ICA-Farmville opened in 2008 and operates through an IGSA between ICE and the town of Farmville. ICA does not have a direct contract with ICE, but rather pays the town of Farmville a small percentage of their profits in exchange for them hosting the detention center.

ICA-Farmville usually detains a minimum of 500 people for ICE on average. ICE pays ICA $120 per day per person they detain, which incrementally increases for every additional person they detain over 500. On average, ICA receives over $20 million a year from ICE; they then pay the town of Farmville approximately ten thousand dollars for everyone one million dollars they receive from ICE.

Since its opening in 2008, the people detained at ICA-Farmville have been subjected to abuse, brutality, and medical neglect. Many incidents were recently revealed by FOIA documents obtained by the Advancement Project, and released in conjunction with La ColectiVA, Sanctuary DMV, National Immigrant Justice Center, and Detention Watch Network. In the summer of 2020, ICA-Farmville was the site of a massive COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in 339 cases, six hospitalizations, and one death. A recent CDC inspection concluded that there is a possibility of another outbreak in the facility.

Despite perpetuating violence against the people they detain, ICA continues to pursue ICE contracts with the goal of expanding into Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Maryland. Last year, they lobbied the town of Sudlersville for permission to build a detention center. In May 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, town commissioners voted to change the town’s zoning ordinance to allow for the potential construction of a private detention center, despite overwhelming opposition voiced in testimonies shared during public hearings.

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Caroline County Detention Facility

The Caroline county detention center is located in Bowling Green and operated through an IGSA between ICE and the county that began in 2018. They detain between 224–336 people for ICE at any given time. ICE pays Caroline County $123 per day per person they detain, averaging at approximately 10 million dollars a year. The IGSA is for a maximum of $59 million and expires on July 30th, 2023. Caroline County Detention Center is the only facility in Virginia that detains women.

The people detained at Caroline county detention facility have also been subjected to extreme violence and brutality and multiple COVID-19 outbreaks.

Take Action!

It is imperative that we release everyone from ICA-Farmville and Caroline detention center immediately and shutdown the facilities for good. You can use the Free Them All VA action guide to contact Virginia elected officials to demand that they release everyone immediately! And follow Free Them All VA on facebook, twitter, and instagram for more ways to take action!

Madhvi Bahl is really tired of Ralph’s bullshit.

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Team UUWL!

Written by

Up, Up with Liberation is a digital collective dedicated to liberation through creative expression. Project of @SanctuaryDMV. submissions@upupwithliberation.com

Up, Up with Liberation

Up, Up with Liberation is a digital collective dedicated to liberation through creative expression. Born out of a community of organizers pursuing justice for immigrants and communities of color in the DMV, we are nurturing a culture of resistance through storytelling.

Team UUWL!

Written by

Up, Up with Liberation is a digital collective dedicated to liberation through creative expression. Project of @SanctuaryDMV. submissions@upupwithliberation.com

Up, Up with Liberation

Up, Up with Liberation is a digital collective dedicated to liberation through creative expression. Born out of a community of organizers pursuing justice for immigrants and communities of color in the DMV, we are nurturing a culture of resistance through storytelling.

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