Federal immigration officials plan changes at several privately owned immigration detention centers, including relaxing some security measures for low-risk detainees and offering art classes, bingo and continental breakfast on the weekends, reports the Houston Chronicle. The changes were welcomed by immigrant advocates who have been waiting for the Obama administration to deliver on a promise made in August to overhaul the nation’s immigration detention system.
The 28 changes identified in an ICE e-mail obtained by the paper range from the superficial to the substantive. In addition to “softening the look of the facility” with hanging plants and offering fresh carrot sticks, ICE will allow for the “free movement” of low-risk detainees, expand visiting hours and provide unmonitored phone lines. ICE officials said the changes are part of broader efforts to make the immigration detention system less penal and more humane.