Connecting with Loved Ones Through Video at the Imperial Facility

At MTC’s Imperial Regional Detention Facility in California, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE facility, men and women wait for their cases to go before a judge. Most will only be at the facility for about two months, but that’s a long time to be away from family and friends especially when you’re thousands of miles away.

But thanks to technology, the gap is not so wide now. The Imperial facility recently introduced tablets to the detainees which allows them to video conference with their family.

“Many people are scared,” says Margaret Souza who’s the executive director of the Sure Helpline Crisis Center. “Many people don’t know what to expect. And once they come in, they want to make sure that their family members are fine, that the place that they’re at is clean and comfortable.”

The Sure Helpline Crisis Center is dedicated to protecting the rights of vulnerable populations. The group frequently visits the Imperial Regional Detention Facility to provide various support programs to the detainees. Margaret says video conferencing is a great addition to the facility.

“I think it’s wonderful because they get to see their family members. They get to talk to them. Because of their stay here, even though some of them are only [here] for 90 days or less, just seeing the family that can’t make it over here, that’s far away, is a good thing for them. It makes them feel a lot better.”

The tablets are available to all of the men and women at the facility. One man who spoke to his wife and daughter in Russia says being able to see his family gives him hope and helps him deal with the stresses of his current situation. Margaret says that type of interaction is invaluable.

“Communicating and seeing that they’re OK, both parties, their family and them, that they’re there, that they’re OK and that they’re thinking of them.”

About Imperial Regional Detention Facility

Imperial Regional Detention Facility is accredited by the American Correctional
Association—achieving over 99% compliance for both mandatory and non-mandatory
standards in its most recent audit. Other accreditations and certifications include the
National Commission on Correctional Healthcare (NCCHC).