Investigation of female ICE detainees' complaints at Richmond jail continues

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RICHMOND (BCN) An investigation is continuing into allegations by women being detained by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in a Contra Costa County jail, sheriff's officials said today.

The female detainees have complained about the conditions at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond and sheriff's officials launched an investigation last month.

In a statement issued today, Sheriff David Livingston said, 

"Although complaints such as excessive 'lock down' time or improper uses of bio-hazard bags are extremely rare within the jail system's 1,600 inmates and detainees, the fact that some ICE detainees have made such allegations demands a full and thorough investigation, which is well underway."

Sheriff's officials said the department's internal affairs investigators have conducted more than 110 interviews with inmates and staff, reviewed hundreds of hours of building surveillance video and inspected evidence such as log books, booking information and bio-hazard red bag storage.

Investigators have also inspected cells, bathrooms and open areas of the women's dormitory. Sheriff's officials said staff members of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office have met with them and conducted a tour of the jail facility on Nov. 16.

Another tour by sheriff's officials together with the attorney general's office is planned.

Information from the investigation by the sheriff's office is being made available to the attorney general's office and sheriff's officials have asked Becerra's office to review the investigation and its conclusions when the investigation is complete by about Dec. 15.

Last month a Facebook post by the sheriff's office said it did not receive any complaints directly from the detainees.

At that time, sheriff's officials provided some details about the inmates' care in response to alleged misleading reports about the complaints.

According to sheriff's officials, the inmates had keys to their own rooms and were able to leave their rooms to use the restroom, go to programs and medical appointments and to visits. The detainees also had more free time than is required by law.

Also, even when the detainees were supposed to be in their cells, the doors to their cells were unlocked to allow the detainees to use the restroom.

"We routinely pass stringent state and federal jail inspections and are committed to running safe, secure and constitutionally compliant detention facilities," Livingston said.

The detainees were not arrested by deputies. Rather the detainees are being housed at the detention facility for ICE.