The conditions of detention are different at each detention center. ICE has standards that are supposed to govern detention conditions, called the National Detention Standards (NDS) and Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS). The NDS can be found here while the PBNDS are here. As of September 2012, all of the jails within the Chicago district are subject to the NDS except for McHenry County Jail, which is subject to the PBNDS.
Unfortunately, these conditions are often not met. If you know of a problem with the conditions of a detention center, you should report it. The National Immigrant Justice Center keeps track of reports about problems with detention conditions. You can contact the National Immigrant Justice Center at (312) 273-9807. You can also contact your senator or representative, or the senator or representative for the district where the detention center is located.
Can a detainee file a grievance if they are mistreated?
Yes. A detainee can file a grievance within 5 days of an incident.
Can I visit a person in immigration detention?
Yes. All of the detention centers in this area allow visitation. You can find out what the hours of visitation are by calling the detention center. However, some jails only allow visitation by video-conference. Also, most jails require that a visitor have valid photo ID with them when they visit and some do not accept a consular ID (matricula).
Can a person in detention talk on the phone?
Yes. Some facilities allow detainees to buy phone cards that they can use to make calls. Others only allow detainees to make collect calls, which requires you to set up special accounts on your phone in order to accept calls.
Can I send mail to a person in immigration custody?
Yes. But the detention center may not allow you to send certain kinds of mail. You can find out what items are not allowed by calling the detention center.
Can I send money to a person in immigration custody?
Yes. Each jail allows you to add money to a detainee’s commissary account, which they can then use to order items through the jail. To add money to a detainee’s commissary account, you will need to know their jail identification number. Some of the jails have kiosks to add money, while others require that a money order be mailed in or that money be deposited through an online website or via Moneygram. You will need to call the jail to find out its specific procedures.