Saturday, June 25, 2011

ICE pulls immigration detainees from Weber jail (Salt Lake Tribune)

ICE pulls immigration detainees from Weber jail

First published Jun 24 2011 08:56PM

About 30 immigration detainees housed at the Weber County Jail were transferred to other jails in the state this week as the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency conducts a review of the facility.

ICE wants “to ensure it is in full compliance with the agency’s stringent national detention standards,” said spokeswoman Virginia Kice.

The relocation of the detainees will allow ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations to do a thorough review of the jail, she added.

Kice did not elaborate on what prompted the relocation or review of the facility.

The current contract between the two agencies for the housing of detainees began in March 2009 and will remain in effect while the review is being done. The detainees, however, will be housed in other jails. The contract would remain effective unless terminated by either party with written notice.

“We value our partnership with Weber County and are currently providing all possible assistance to help the county correct any deficiencies,” Kice said.

The detainees were relocated Wednesday, most of them to the Utah County Jail.

Weber County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Klint Anderson said the county doesn’t know the reason behind the relocation, but was told it was temporary.

We are waiting for their final report to come out to see if they found any issues and what they are,” Anderson said. He said ICE does periodic inspections and the jail has done well.

Anderson suggested that the death of an inmate in March may have prompted the ICE review. Amra Miletic,a Bosnian national woman, was being housed at the Weber County Jail while going through immigration removal proceedings. She was found unconscious in her cell and transported to a local hospital, where she died from an apparent heart attack.

“It’s probably just protocol to conduct an investigation when there is death like that,” Anderson said. “But we know it wasn’t anything that we were negligent in.”

Until the report is completed Anderson said the county does not know what issues, if any, there are.

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