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Summary

“Beaten while handcuffed.”

“Locked up for long periods in solitary confinement.”

“Strapped…to chairs with bags placed over their heads.”

These are among the many shocking allegations leveled against a Virginia detention facility by immigrant children as young as 14-years-old, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, citing the first-hand accounts and sworn statements of abuse victims detailed in federal court filings.

“Whenever they used to restrain me and put me in the chair, they would handcuff me,” recounted one Honduran immigrant who was sent to the facility when he was 15-years-old. “Strapped me down all the way, from your feet all the way to your chest, you couldn’t really move… They have total control over you. They also put a bag over your head. It has little holes; you can see through it. But you feel suffocated with the bag on.”

A child-development specialist who worked inside the facility told the AP that she saw children with broken bones and bruises that they said were caused by abuse from guards.

According to the AP, many of the immigrant children detained at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center were arrested after federal immigration officials accused them of being gang members.

“But a top manager at the Shenandoah center said during a recent congressional hearing that the children did not appear to be gang members and were suffering from mental health issues resulting from trauma that happened in their home countries—problems the detention facility is ill-equipped to treat,” AP reported.

This summary is adapted from a piece by Jake Johnson at Common Dreams and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

For more information on the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center apart from these allegations, see our information page here.

Apart from the Shenandoah Valley facility, there are numerous allegations of abuse in other immigrant detention facilities. See further information from the American Immigration Council, Human Rights Watch, and The Intercept.

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Yolo County