Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Interactive Map of Detention Sites


PRESS RELEASE FROM ANDREA BLACK, Coordinator,DETENTION WATCH NETWORK
The Detention Watch Network (DWN) today released the next generation of its interactive map of the U.S. Immigration Detention System. http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/dwnmap

Designed to increase awareness about the hidden and rapidly expanding detention system, the map includes in-depth information about the far-flung network of 350-plus detention centers, private prisons, and local jail facilities that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses to detain immigrants. “It is incredibly difficult to find someone once they have been detained. Family members, lawyers and friends will now be able to use this map to locate their loved ones. It will also be a critical resource for advocates and provide a strong visual tool to educate the U.S. public and policy makers about this hidden system,” said Andrea Black, Network Coordinator.

As recent media reports and congressional hearings on deaths in detention have highlighted, the U.S. immigration detention system is vast, constantly changing, and shrouded in secrecy with isolated and remote facilities scattered across the country. It is extremely difficult to get even basic information from the government about which facilities are in use, the numbers of people being detained and the locations of individuals swept into the system. “It is heartbreaking to see families struggle to find a loved one in detention, frantic to learn which detention centers are nearby. And it is challenging to advocate for detention reform and hold the government accountable for its capricious policies without a clear understanding of the vast system in place and its proposed expansion.” said DWN member Bob Libal of Grassroots Leadership.

In April 2007, DWN created the first national map of the U.S. immigration detention system. The response was overwhelmingly positive and has proven extremely useful to families searching for detainees as well as reporters and Congressional offices. However, it only scratched the surface of needed information. The new map creates a multi-faceted visual representation of the immigration detention world. In addition to a navigable national map, each detention center has its own page with contact and visitation information as well as links to resources and related media.

The map was created by the Praxis Project (www.thepraxisproject.org) using open-source technology. Research was provided by volunteers throughout the country, including students from Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Florida State University School of Law and Southwest Institute for Research on Women who investigated information about each center through interviews, online research and extensive outreach to facilities. Critical funding was provided by the Sparkplug Foundation and Maverick Lloyd Foundation. The map is a work in progress; DWN will continue to work with volunteers to gather information about this ever-changing system to support affected family, community members, and advocates and educate the media, the public, and policy makers.

DWN is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to educate the public and policy makers about the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for reform so that all who come to our shores receive humane treatment. For more information, visit http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org.

END PRESS RELEASE

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