Dying in Detention Must End, Support the Detainee Basic Medical Care Act

The New York Times, Washington Post and 60 Minutes have published results of investigations into America's immigrant jails, all of which show "alarming evidence of shoddy care, inadequate staffing, lax standards, secrecy and chronic ineptitude." Background here.

The New York Times has an editorial in tomorrow's paper urging passage of the Detainee Basic Medical Care Act, introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ.) The House version of the bill, H.R. 5950 is here and the Senate version. S. 3005, is here.

The bill would impose more rigorous standards on the network of more than 300 publicly and privately run prisons that make up the federal system — current rules are voluntary, not legally enforceable and not uniformly followed. And it would require that all deaths be reported to the Justice Department and Congress.

Congress should swiftly pass the bill, putting aside the poisoned debate over illegal immigration, which has no relevance here. Whether immigrants are legal or illegal has nothing to do with their right to humane care. As Ms. Lofgren bluntly put it: “You are not supposed to kill people who are in custody.”

There is no excuse for another life being lost.[More...]

Co-sponsors of the Senate version include:

Sen Akaka, Daniel K. [HI] - 5/12/2008
Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM] - 5/22/2008
Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] - 5/12/2008
Sen Kennedy, Edward M. [MA] - 5/12/2008
Sen Kerry, John F. [MA] - 6/6/2008
Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT] - 5/12/2008

I hope we see the name of every Senator who cares about human rights on the list soon.

Here's an action alert where you can make your views known to your elected officials in Congress.

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    by americanincanada on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:40:13 PM EST
    hope every senator with a heart signs on to this bill.