Media Contact

CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

March 4, 2024

Findings validate advocates' consistent claims of abuse at Baker ranging from racial discrimination, verbal harassment, and barriers to legal access

MIAMI, FL – The ACLU of Florida has received a response from the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (DHS CRCL) confirming egregious conditions at Baker County Detention Center, including persistent abuse by facility staff.

DHS confirms that at the time of their investigations, there were “immediate concerns regarding the health and well-being of persons detained at Baker” and that an action plan was needed to address these concerns. Many of these issues continue daily at Baker.

The Baker County Detention Center is one of three institutions in Florida used by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement to detain migrants, in addition to the Krome Detention Center in Miami-Dade County and the Broward Transitional Center.

The office also noted the abnormally large number of allegations it has received over the years related to Baker and other negative attention the facility has received for its poor treatment of people in its care.

The ACLU of Florida submitted a FOIA request to DHS CRCL seeking to obtain the results of their investigations of Baker County Detention Facility last year. However, advocates in Florida and across the country have long known that people were suffering a wide range of abuses at Baker County Detention Center and continue to do so now.

“For years, the ACLU of Florida and our partners have been investigating the egregious human rights violations that Baker staff are repeatedly committing against the people in their care,” said Amy Godshall, a legal fellow at the ACLU of Florida. “I’ve personally spent countless hours talking to people in ICE detention and currently at Baker about the conditions of their confinement, and you can hear the desperation in their voices.”

The DHS office confirmed consistent patterns of verbal abuse by facility staff; racial discrimination, retaliation, and harassment; medical concerns; significant language access concerns; and continued barriers to legal assistance.

“Immigrants detained at the Baker facility have been and continue to be treated inhumanely,” Godshall added.

“They describe the conditions and the way the guards treat them as psychological warfare aimed at getting them to self-deport. ICE detention is a civil detention that is not supposed to be punitive. But in reality, at Baker, it is. Baker County has repeatedly demonstrated its disregard for detained immigrants' humanity and its unwillingness to treat them with dignity or respect. We are frustrated but not surprised that these serious problems continue years after CRCL’s 2021 investigation. We appreciate CRCL’s attention to this matter and urge ICE to stop tolerating these ongoing, egregious abuses.”

The findings of the DHS CRCL on Baker can be found here.