MOORE HAVEN – At the March 22 meeting of the Glades County Commission, three advocates from outside the county complained about conditions in the county detention facility for the ICE prisoners, claiming they were not receiving proper health care and are not being protected from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Commission Chair John Ahern countered that medical is provided, and the facility regularly passes inspections.
“I am the chairman of Glades Correctional Development Corporation (GCDC)," said John Ahern. “We contract with the sheriff to run the facility for GCDC.
“We get three inspections a year and we’ve done well on all of them,” he said.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), there are currently no COVID-19 positive detainees at the Glades County Facility. According to the ICE website, since testing began in 2020, a total of 188 ICE detainees at the Glades center have tested positive for COVID-19 and one has died. Most of the COVID-19 positive cases were at the beginning of the pandemic with 140 positive cases in the first five months of the pandemic.
Glades County Sheriff David Hardin noted the facility is not overcrowded, with capacity of 500 and only 211 currently incarcerated in a facility that employs about 100 people.
He said at the beginning of the pandemic they did have cases of COVID-19 among both the inmates and the staff. Some had to be hospitalized. As more information became available on how to prevent the spread of the virus, they changed procedures as needed.
He said the ICE detainees in the facility are convicted criminals. “The only people we hold are criminal aliens,” said the sheriff. “They are in the process of being deported.”
“I stand behind my staff and our facility,” said the sheriff. “There is no body mistreated."