The only county jail in Oregon that still houses immigrant detainees in exchange for payment from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement failed to meet 81 federal requirements in its last inspection in November.
According to more than 200 pages of records obtained by WW, officials at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility in The Dalles failed to provide detainees with proper clothing, neglected food safety protocols, and unnecessarily strip-searched immigrants.
"We're particularly appalled by the strip searches following attorney visits," says Erin McKee, co-director of the Oregon Justice Resource Center and attorney for the Immigrant Rights Project. "If someone knows they will be strip-searched after each attorney visit, they will be less willing to meet with counsel and assist in the preparation of their case."
NORCOR is a jail that serves four counties and houses defendants facing criminal charges, but for more than a decade it has also housed immigrant detainees. At the time of the inspection in 2017, detainees made up about 20 percent of the jail population.
The report does not say how many of these conditions apply to everyone held in the jail, but some clearly do—which means the ICE inspection reveals dangerous conditions for Oregon inmates as well.
Despite the violations, the contractor ICE hired to conduct the review scored the facility as "acceptable."
Inspectors found dozens of violations. Here are six of the most egregious:
What the jail is supposed to do: Strip searches should only occur when officials have reasonable suspicion that a detainee possesses contraband.
What the jail did: Guards routinely strip-searched detainees upon arrival at the jail, and each time a detainee met in person with an attorney.
What the jail is supposed to do: Mail should only be searched in the presence of the detainee sending or receiving the letters. Officials should notify senders in writing if their letters are rejected and not delivered to detainees.
What the jail did: Officials searched all incoming and outgoing mail without detainees present and did not notify senders when they rejected correspondence.
What the jail is supposed to do: Provide detainees a daily change of underwear and socks.
What the jail did: The jail's policy allowed immigrants to exchange underwear twice a week and did not provide socks at all.
What the jail is supposed to do: Maintain clean kitchen space with proper training for food storage and safety protocols. Provide alternative meal options for detainees with religious dietary restrictions.
What the jail did: The jail failed an entire section of the inspection because of its poor food safety protocols and near total lack of training for food handlers. The inspectors called the kitchen cleanliness "marginal." The facility did not provide meal options for detainees with religious restrictions.
What the jail is supposed to do: Perform fire and safety inspections by a certified inspector or bring in an outside agency to do so.
What the jail did: The sergeant who performed the fire and safety inspections did not have any certification to do so, and had only attended one training session with a local fire marshal three years ago. The jail did not have its fire safety plan approved by an outside agency.
What the jail is supposed to do: Post "sexual assault awareness" notices in each housing unit and give each detainee a sexual assault awareness informational brochure on arrival.
What the jail did: NORCOR failed to provide any information about sexual assault resources to detainees upon their arrival and did not post notices until inspectors visited the facility in November.