CVT Applauds Bill with Protections for Torture Survivors | Center for Victims of Torture

CVT Applauds Bill with Protections for Torture Survivors

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. and WASHINGTON—The Center for Victims of TortureTM (CVT) today lauded the introduction of the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act of 2017.

“We applaud Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash), Adam Smith (D-Wash), and their colleagues for introducing this important legislation,” said Scott Roehm, director of CVT’s Washington Office. “If more policymakers were willing to deal in facts—rather than politically, racially and economically-motivated myths—this is the kind of smart, compassionate immigration detention system we could have.”

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act has several key features:

  • It eliminates the use of private prisons and county jails for civil immigration detention;
  • It requires the government to adopt humane treatment standards appropriate to a civil detention context;
  • It imposes robust oversight on the immigration detention system and forces much-needed transparency;
  • It eliminates the use of mandatory detention; and
  • It prohibits detaining torture survivors (among other vulnerable groups) at all unless the government shows that placement in a community-based supervision program is unreasonable or impracticable.

“We are especially pleased that the bill directly addresses torture survivors and other vulnerable groups,” Roehm continued. “CVT extends rehabilitative care to thousands of survivors every year. We know that torture induces long-term suffering; it breaks both bodies and minds. Detention, even for short periods, is often retraumatizing, a cruel reality that our current system ignores. Representatives Jayapal, Smith and their colleagues are tackling this problem head-on, and we thank them for it.”

In Tortured and Detained: Survivor Stories of U.S. Immigration Detention, CVT and the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International documented the debilitating impact that immigration detention in the U.S. can have on asylum seekers and torture survivors. The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act of 2017 would implement several recommendations from that report.


The Center for Victims of Torture is a nonprofit organization headquartered in St. Paul, MN, with offices in Atlanta, GA, and Washington, D.C.; and healing initiatives in Africa and the Middle East.



Jenni Bowring-McDonough

jbowring [at]


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Jenni Bowring-McDonough
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+1 612-436-4886 (office) or +1 651-226-3858 (mobile)
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