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Report raises concerns about solitary detention for gay, transgender immigrants

BY JAYNA OMAYE
MEDILL NEWS SERVICE

capWASHINGTON -- Many gay, lesbian and transgender immigrants held in U.S. detention centers, who may be vulnerable to abuse by guards and other detainees, are placed in solitary confinement to protect them, but the isolation can cause psychological problems, according to a new report by the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

“Solitary confinement is considered a form of torture,” said Sharita Gruberg, a policy analyst at the center, which released the report Monday addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrant abuses in U.S. immigrant detention facilities. “When (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) does this to prevent people from being sexually assaulted, it puts them at risk of other forms of trauma.”

Some LGBT immigrants also face physical, sexual and verbal abuse from detention facility guards while in solitary, which defeats the purpose of isolating vulnerable populations, said Gruberg, who wrote the report.

The report found about 200 reports of sexual, mental and physical abuse involving LGBT detainees by guards and other immigrants at all federal facilities from 2008 to 2013.

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