This article is written by one of our volunteer attorneys who visited a family detention center in Karnes, TX:
Conditions in Artesia, Karnes, and Dilley have been scrutinized. There have been allegations of sexual assault, abuse, and lack of proper food and clothing. It was hard as an attorney, only privy to certain areas of the center, to see what the living conditions were really like.
However, I was shocked to see the women and children coming in to meet with us in winter coats, mittens, and hats. The women asked for better blankets for their children, and scares. Despite the warm climate in Karnes (especially for a Michigander like myself), the facility was very cold when we visited, and the women said that it was even colder in their rooms.
The other major complaint was water. The women told me that the tap water at the facility upset their stomachs, so they could only drink bottled water. The commissary in the center (ran by a private company) sold water for over $1 per bottle, but the entire week I was there they were sold out. The women and children had chapped lips, and many had sores on their mouths and white tongues from dehydration. When we gave them water it was like we gave them a holiday gift- they were careful not to drink it all right away.