Staff at the Glades County Detention Center denied medical care to individuals facing life-threatening conditions

MOORE HAVEN, Fla. – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLU of Florida) submitted an administrative complaint on behalf of Michael Wallace, who was unlawfully denied medical care and prescription medication while in ICE custody at the Glades County Detention Center in Moore Haven, Florida. The announcement comes just weeks after ICE announced they would pause all operations at the facility, citing “persistent and ongoing concerns related to…medical care.” ICE is currently targeting Mr. Wallace for deportation as early as next week. 

Mr. Wallace, a 61-year-old Jamaican immigrant with epilepsy, experienced extreme medical neglect and inhumane treatment at Glades. He was denied his anti-seizure medication upon his arrival at Glades, suffered a seizure and continued to experience prolonged mistreatment throughout his detention at Glades. Once he finally received his anti-seizure medication, the Glades medical staff changed his prescription and lowered his dosage, all before performing an initial health assessment. Mr. Wallace began suffering side effects such as headaches, dizziness, chills, and stomach pain – these side effects continue to this day. After Mr. Wallace spoke out about his mistreatment, he was targeted by Glades officers and medical staff and experienced prolonged segregation, retaliation, and emotional manipulation. 

For the past several years, dozens of complaints have been filed about Glades, including citing pervasive medical neglect, racialized violence, unlawful use of toxic chemicals, sexual misconduct, and inhumane treatment at the facility.

“I never had a seizure until I came to Glades. When they found out that I was suing them for what they did, the personality of the staff changed,” said Michael Wallace in a video declaration. “They locked me down for over 14 days. I was scared for my life and needed to be transferred out of Glades because if I stayed, I didn’t think I was going to make it out.”

Earlier this year, the facility was at the center of yet another complaint alleging that Glades County and Glades County Sheriff’s Office are deleting video surveillance footage in violation of federal law. The deleted footage represents critical evidence and could substantiate reports of abuse against immigrants detained at the jail.

“Mr. Wallace was not only traumatized and fearful after his detention at Glades, but today his mental and physical health continues to be impacted due to the medical neglect he endured by the staff at the facility,” said Katie Blankenship, deputy legal director for the ACLU of Florida. “Mr. Wallace needs to be released from ICE custody immediately for his own safety and to receive adequate medical care. Unfortunately, he is not alone in his experience at Glades. His experience serves as yet another example of why ICE must immediately end its contract with Glades County.”

Immigrants, members of Congress, and advocacy groups continue to call for the permanent closure of Glades, highlighting the more than 75 complaints submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding the conditions and abuses at the detention center. The contract between Glades County and ICE expires at the end of April. Mr. Wallace currently remains in detention at the Krome North Service Processing Center in Miami, Florida. His case of medical neglect at Glades has been escalated to the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and is currently under investigation. 

Click here to read the complaint.