There is No Safety Here: The Dangers for People with Mental Illness and Other Disabilities at Adelanto Detention Center


There is No Safety Here:
The Dangers for People with Mental Illness and Other Disabilities in Immigration Detention at GEO Group’s Adelanto ICE Processing Center

DRC has investigated conditions at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center. DRC looked at the treatment of immigration detainees with mental health needs and other disabilities. We toured the facility, talked to detainees and staff, and reviewed records. We found problems and wrote a report about what we learned. Below you will find more information about our work. You can read the report in both English and Spanish.

The Adelanto ICE Processing Center (“Adelanto”), in the City of Adelanto in San Bernardino County, is the largest ICE detention facility in California, and one of the largest in the country. It has an average detainee population of almost 2,000 people. The facility is operated by a private company, the GEO Group, based on a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the City of Adelanto.

Recent government policy changes have led to a large increase in the detention of immigrants, including many people with disabilities. There has also been a dramatic rise in the detention of asylum seekers, who often have past traumas and significant mental health needs.

DRC’s investigation report provides our findings and recommendations for reform. The report looks at several aspects of the Adelanto ICE Processing Center’s system, and how it impacts people with mental health and medical care needs, and with a range of disabilities. We found:

  1. People held at Adelanto are subjected to punitive, prison-like conditions that harm people with disabilities.
  2. Adelanto has an inadequate mental health care and medical care system, made worse by the facility’s harsh and counter-therapeutic practices.
  3. The GEO Group significantly underreports data on the number of suicide attempts that occur at Adelanto, which undermines transparency and public oversight of the facility.
  4. Adelanto’s system fails to comply with disability antidiscrimination laws as well as with ICE’s own detention standards regarding the treatment of people with disabilities.

Press Release

03/05/19 Press Release - English (pdf)
03/05/19 Press Release - Spanish/Español (pdf)

Media Coverage

Disability Rights California Statement on Immigration Policies
Illustration by an Artist in Immigration Detention
Adelanto Detention Center, 2018
Drawing of a African American woman laughing.