Pike County Correctional Facility

Pike County Correctional Facility Information

Pike County Correctional Facility: A Closer Look at Pennsylvania's Controversial Prison

## Introduction

Pike County Correctional Facility is a 375-bed prison located in Lords Valley, Pennsylvania that first opened in 1995. Owned and operated by Pike County, the facility houses both male and female criminal offenders from the local area as well as immigration detainees under an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

Since its inception, Pike County Correctional Facility has been plagued by numerous controversies and allegations of abuse, inadequate healthcare, lack of accountability, and mistreatment of immigrants. Multiple lawsuits have been filed over sexual assaults, two inmate deaths in 2020, and a major COVID-19 outbreak infecting over 100 inmates. This problematic track record has led critics and advocates to call for significant reforms.

This in-depth article will provide an overview of Pike County Correctional Facility and its operations before delving into the major issues around health conditions, safety, sexual abuse, and immigration detention practices that have made it one of Pennsylvania’s most controversial prisons in recent years.

## Detailed Overview of Pike County Correctional Facility

Constructed in 1995, the 87,800 square foot Pike County Correctional Facility sits on 268 acres of land in Blooming Grove Township, Pennsylvania. The $27 million facility was designed as a maximum security, direct supervision prison with the dual capabilities to house criminal offenders and immigration detainees. 

Pike County owns and operates the prison, contracting with private companies to provide certain services. Food services are supplied by Pike County, medical care by PrimeCare Medical, commissary by Keefe Commissary Network, and maintenance by CGL Facility Management. Facility operations are overseen by a warden along with over 200 correctional officers, administrative staff, and support personnel.

The inmate population is comprised of both male and female offenders from Pike County and surrounding areas in northeastern Pennsylvania. In 1996, the facility began housing immigration detainees through an intergovernmental service agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Philadelphia Field Office as well. 

Educational and vocational programs offered at the prison include adult basic education, GED preparation, computer literacy, building trades, custodial maintenance, business education, sex offender therapy, drug rehabilitation, faith-based services, counseling, and more.

In 2020, Pike County Correctional Facility was recognized with the “Criminal Justice System Best Practices Award” for its range of recidivism reduction programming such as the C.O.R.E., A.R.R.O.W., M.O.R.E., and H.O.P.E programs focused on community re-entry preparation.

The daily schedules, services, and procedures at the facility are determined largely by inmate classification level. Privileges like commissary access, recreation time, and visitation are assigned accordingly. Attorney visits are permitted daily from 8am to 10:45pm but require advance scheduling. Family and friends visitation varies based on housing unit and security status. All visitors and mail are subject to strict screening procedures as well.

## Concerns About Healthcare and Medical Treatment

One major area of controversy with Pike County Correctional Facility has been the quality of healthcare services and medical treatment provided to inmates. There have been multiple lawsuits filed in recent years alleging negligent care and deliberate indifference to serious medical conditions.

Medical care at the facility is provided by PrimeCare Medical under a contract with Pike County. PrimeCare supplies doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and other medical personnel to the prison. A doctor is on-site for weekly visits while nurses are on duty 24 hours a day. Mental health professionals are also available daily.

In 2019, Pike County Correctional Facility underwent a National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) accreditation survey and was accredited for providing adequate healthcare services based on compliance with national standards. 

However, serious complaints remain. In 2020, two deaths at the facility prompted wrongful death lawsuits asserting that negligent healthcare and botched responses by prison staff resulted in the inmates' deaths. One case involved a man who died from acute heroin withdrawal symptoms after allegedly being denied proper medication and treatment by nurses.

Advocacy groups have accused Pike County Correctional Facility medical staff of long delays in diagnosing conditions, prescribing incorrect medications, ignoring inmate health complaints, and exhibiting deliberate indifference. They argue for stronger accountability and quality control measures.

Pike maintains its commitment to consistent, compassionate care for all inmates. But the healthcare controversies persist, driven by inmate lawsuits, complaints, and calls for reform.

## Sexual Abuse and Assault Allegations 

In addition to healthcare concerns, Pike County Correctional Facility has faced troubling allegations around sexual abuse and assault of inmates by prison staff.

In 2021, a female former inmate filed a lawsuit alleging she had been raped and sexually assaulted multiple times by a correctional officer during her months in detention. This followed a 2020 lawsuit in which three women asserted they were raped at the prison and administrators did nothing to protect them.

Under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), Pike County Correctional Facility has implemented policies aimed at prevention, detection, and response to all sexual abuse complaints. The facility states it maintains a zero tolerance policy prohibiting any form of sexual harassment or abuse. All allegations must be investigated promptly by either prison administrators or an external law enforcement agency. 

However, critics argue stronger measures are still needed to protect vulnerable inmates based on the history of substantiated and alleged assault cases. They contend physical security improvements, increased staff training, and independent oversight of investigations would help reduce incidents and enhance accountability when they do occur.

Ensuring impartial, thorough investigations and appropriate disciplinary actions for officers involved remains an ongoing issue. But Pike County Correctional Facility asserts it priortizes inmate safety and has appropriate mechanisms to address abuse allegations.

## Immigration Detention Concerns

Apart from criminally convicted inmates, Pike County Correctional Facility also detains a significant number of immigrants under contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  

The Blooming Grove facility began housing ICE detainees back in 1996 shortly after opening. Under the intergovernmental service agreement, authorized ICE detention facilities like Pike County receive federal payments to detain immigrants awaiting hearings or deportation.

In recent years, immigrants have grown to account for a sizable percentage of the overall inmate population at Pike County Correctional Facility. 

Advocacy organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union have raised concerns about the conditions and duration of confinement for immigration detainees at the prison. 

They argue housing immigrants punitively in prison-like facilities encouraged mistreatment and human rights violations. Allegations from detainees include insufficient food rations, lack of outdoor access, inadequate medical care, and abusive behavior by officers. 

ICE maintains its facilities adhere to national detention standards involving healthcare access, grievance systems, recreation time, and basic living conditions. The agency conducts routine audits and inspections. But critics continue to demand reforms especially related to detention length and incarceration alternatives.

## Calls for Greater Accountability and Systemic Reform  

The controversies swirling around Pike County Correctional Facility in recent years have amplified calls for greater public accountability and systemic reforms from both state and federal officials.

Civil rights organizations like the ACLU have urged the federal government to terminate contracts with Pike County Correctional Facility as an ICE detention center given its alleged record of rights violations.

They also advocate for legislative changes requiring mandatory detailed reporting on metrics like use-of-force, population demographics, inmate complaints, healthcare access, assaults, and other factors relevant to ensuring public transparency around prison conditions.

Further, they call for the Department of Homeland Security and ICE to overhaul detention policies focused on reducing incarceration of immigrants and prioritizing community-based alternatives.  

At the state level, Pennsylvania lawmakers have faced pressure to increase oversight, auditing, and accountability measures for private prison operators like those running Pike County Correctional Facility. Suggested policies include stricter contractor vetting processes and real-time monitoring of conditions.

Ultimately, critics argue major reforms are needed not only at Pike County Correctional Facility but across the wider criminal justice and immigration detention systems to correct systemic failures and human rights concerns. While Pike officials maintain appropriate facility conditions and treatment, the outside pressures for reform persist.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, Pike County Correctional Facility exemplifies many of the deeply concerning issues around private prisons, immigrant detention, healthcare, and sexual abuse plaguing correctional institutions across the United States today. 

The troubling allegations emerging from the Pennsylvania facility in recent years illustrate the need for greater public transparency, accountability, and commitment to human rights in the operation of prisons and detention centers. 

How Pike County administrators respond to calls for meaningful systemic reforms in the months ahead will determine whether the facility becomes a model for progressive change or remains a symbol of penal system failings. Though the path forward is uncertain, the demands for change are clear and growing.

## Frequently Asked Questions

**What are the most frequent complaints made against Pike County Correctional Facility?**

The most common complaints involve poor quality healthcare, lack of accountability, sexual assault by guards, excessive use of solitary confinement, inappropriate treatment of immigration detainees, lack of transparency, and unsafe conditions.

**Who provides oversight for the private companies operating Pike County Correctional Facility?**

Oversight is provided by Pike County officials, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, ICE inspectors, and independent accrediting organizations like the American Correctional Association (ACA). However, critics argue more rigorous oversight is needed. 

**How can former inmates or family members file complaints about treatment at Pike County Correctional Facility?**

Complaints can be directed to the warden, ICE officials, prisoner advocacy organizations, or through lawsuits. There are also confidential hotlines and other reporting mechanisms available to inmates.

**What are some of the main alternatives to detention and incarceration that advocacy groups recommend?** 

Alternatives can include supervised release, community-based treatment programs, electronic monitoring, home confinement, community service, and case management programs focused on rehabilitation and reintegration rather than imprisonment.

**Where can the public access key data and reporting on conditions inside Pike County Correctional Facility?**

Currently there is very little detailed publicly available data. Advocacy groups have called for mandatory reporting on metrics like population, assaults, deaths, and use of force to improve transparency.

Phone: 570-775-1545

Physical Address:
Pike County Correctional Facility
175 Pike County Blvd
Lords Valley, PA 18428

Mailing Address (personal mail):
Inmate's Full Name & A-Number
Pike County Correctional Facility
175 Pike County Blvd
Lords Valley, PA 18428

Other Jails and Prisons

Search Pike County Correctional Facility Inmates

Search Pike County Correctional Facility Inmates

How Do You Find Someone in the Pike County Correctional Facility?

How to Find Someone in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detainee Locator

When someone that is not a US Citizen gets arrested in the United States, and they are here illegally, depending on what state or city they are arrested in, the person may be turned over to ICE. 

Many states such as New York and California, as well as hundreds of US cities, have declared themselves 'sanctuary cities' and do not turn over foreigners here illegally, even if they are committing crimes in their jurisdiction.

However, when an alien here illegally is turned over to ICE, and sent to one of the over 100 Immigration Detention Centers in the United States, the only way to try and locate where they are being detained is using the Online Detainee Locator System.

There are two ways to search for an ICE Detainee:

You can look them up using their assigned A-Number.

  • An A-Number is a 9-digit number that either looks like this: A-123456789, or like this 123-456-789. This is required if you do not know their name.
    It is also called a Registration Number when on a visa, or a USCIS# when on a Green Card.
    If for whatever reason the A-Number you have does not have 9-digits, you need to add 0s (zeroes) to the front of the number until the number has 9-digits.

    That number might then look like this:  001234567.

You can also try and look them up by using their name.

  • In order for this to be effective, you need to have the exact name that is either on their paperwork, or the the name with the exact spelling that they gave ICE. This is required.
  • You also need to know the country of their birth, or the country of their birth that they gave ICE. This is required.
  • Knowing their Date of Birth is helpful but not required to find them in the system.

Important things to know about using the ICE Detainee Locator

  • You do not need to set up an account to use the Detainee Locator System.
  • A-Number stands for 'Alien Registration Number'.
  • The System does not have information on all detainees in custody.
  • Juvenile names are NOT in the System.
  • The Detainee Locator System is updated every 8 hours, sometimes sooner.
  • If the detainee is being moved to a new facility, the new location will not be shown until they have arrived and are processed. 
  • No warnings or prior notice are given in advance of a detainee being moved.
  • While being transferred to a different facility they may still be shown online as being in the original facility.
  • If you are planning a visit, always call before you come to confirm the detainee is still at the facility and has not been moved.
  • To visit a detainee you must have some type of government issued photo ID, or other identification when photo identification is unavailable for religious reasons.
  • If you are unable to find the detainee using the System, contact the ICE Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in the area where you believe the person's immigration case was initiated or the Detainee Reporting and Information Line (DRIL) at 888-351-4024.

Pamphlets in various languages with Instructions on how to use the Online Detainee Locator System:

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Directions / Map to the Pike County Correctional Facility
Understanding US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

What is an ICE Detention Center?

Men, women, and children that are in the United States illegally and are apprehended by the US Border Patrol or ICE will most likely be placed in removal proceedings and may be detained in one of the more than 200 jails and detention centers that make up ICE’s detention system.

Many of the illegal immigrants that are detained are held in county and local jails that contract with ICE to detain immigrants. The rest are held in dedicated immigration detention facilities run by ICE or contracted to private prison corporations, including family detention centers that hold mothers and children.

What Determines if an Illegal Immigrant gets Detained?

ICE will typically detain an immigrant because DHS (Homeland Security) believes that an illegal immigrant is either a “flight risk” and may move to another location within the U.S. or that they pose a public safety threat. Detaining the person allows the government to guarantee that the person will show up for their hearing before an Immigration Court.

Some of the reasons that causes an illegal immigrant to get arrested and held in detention prior to their day in court is as follows:

The illegal immigrant has:

  • committed a crime, or multiple crimes
  • arrived at the border without a visa prior to formally applying for asylum or refugee status
  • an outstanding removal (deportation) order on record, either pending or past due, or
  • missed prior immigration hearing dates.


How do you find someone that is in an ICE Detention Center?

The first step to finding out if an illegal immigrant is in ICE or DHS custody is by using the ICE Detainee Locator.

It’s easier to find the person if you have an Alien Number (A#), if one exists. A green card or work permit will show this number. If you don’t have an A# the person is much more difficult to locate.

The information you will need is as follows:

  • the person’s full name as it appears in the ICE System. The exact spelling and the order of how the name is listed is required.
  • the person’s date of birth
  • the person’s country of birth

If you are having difficulty, try different spellings and the order of how the name is listed.

If the illegal immigrant was only recently detained, the ICE Detainee Locator may not be updated with the latest information. Keep in mind that ICE does not give information (online or over the phone) for people under 18 years of age. In such cases, you can only get information on them from the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations field office nearest you.

If the person you are looking for is not in an ICE Detention Center, they may have been taken to a local jail that contracts with ICE, so contact their local City and County Jail, all which can be found here.

Another option, short of the expense of hiring an Immigration Lawyer, is to go to this website and use their online form to get their help.

Once an illegal immigrant is located and you find out the facility where they are being held you need to find out the Deportation Officer that has been assigned to their case. The Officer can tell you how to call or visit the detainee, or pay for the detainee to be able to call you, or how you can send any needed items such as clothing, prescriptions, etc.

The last option, and the most expensive, is to hire an experienced immigration attorney to assist you in tracking down the Deportation Officer. If the person being detained requires specific medical care, an attorney can ensure that they receive that care.

If the detained illegal immigrant has been deported from America previously or has an outstanding removal order - in which case they have no right to see an immigration judge - they can be removed within a few days, or even hours, of the initial arrest.

Even if the government does not immediately remove the person, it is possible that they can be moved around to different Detention Centers. There is never a warning that a person is being moved around and during the transfer there is a complete blackout of any information.

How long are people held in ICE Immigration Detention Centers?

The time that an illegal immigrant is held in an ICE Detention Center can vary. It all depends on several factors such as the individual’s personal situation, criminal record, the severity of the crime they are being charged with, previous deportations and the current caseload that the Detention Center is dealing with.

This image portrays the most recent data available on the time a detained illegal immigrant remains in custody before their release and/or deportation.

Can you visit someone in ICE Detention Centers?

The short answer is yes. The person visiting an illegal immigrant in an ICE Detention Center must be lawfully present in the United States. In other words the visitor must have some form of currently valid immigration status at the time of the visit. A detention center or jail will not allow the visit unless visitor can show valid I.D. and offer proof that they are lawfully in the United States.

If you want to become a volunteer that visits illegal immigrants in order to offer emotional support, it may be possible. You can join one of these visitation networks by going here and contacting the network in your area.

What crimes can cause an illegal immigrant to be deported?

(The following information comes from Nolo.com, a trusted legal resource)

  • Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude (see list). This includes any attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime. It does not include crimes that were committed that the illegal immigrant committed when they were under the age of 18 years, however the person must have been released from jail more than five years before applying for a visa or other immigration benefit. It also does not include crimes for which the maximum penalty did not exceed one year in prison and the person was not, in fact, sentenced to more than six months in prison.
  • Conviction or admission of a controlled substance violation, whether under U.S. or foreign law. This includes any conspiracy to commit such a crime.
  • Convictions for two or more crimes (other than purely political ones) for which the prison sentences totaled at least five years. This multiple-offense ground of inadmissibility applies whether or not the convictions came from a single trial and whether or not the offenses arose from a single scheme of misconduct or involved moral turpitude.
  • Conviction of or participation in (according to the reasonable belief of the U.S. government) controlled substance trafficking. This includes anyone who knowingly aided, abetted, assisted, conspired, or colluded in illicit drug trafficking. It also includes the spouse, son, or daughter of the inadmissible applicant if that person has, within the last five years, received any financial or other benefit from the illicit activities, and knew or reasonably should have known where the money or benefit came from.
  • Having the purpose of engaging in prostitution or commercialized vice upon coming to the United States, or a history, within the previous ten years, of having engaged in prostitution.
  • Procurement or attempted procurement or importation of prostitutes, directly or indirectly, or receipt of proceeds of prostitution, any of which occurred within the previous ten years.
  • Assertion of immunity from prosecution after committing a serious criminal offense in the U.S., if the person was thus able to depart the U.S. and has not since submitted fully to the jurisdiction of the relevant U.S. Court.
  • Commission of particularly severe violations of religious freedom while serving as a foreign government official.
  • Commission of or conspiracy to commit human trafficking offenses, within or outside the U.S., or being a knowing aider, abettor, assister, conspirator, or colluder with such a trafficker according to the knowledge or reasonable belief of the U.S. government. Also inadmissible are the spouse, son, or daughter the applicant if they, within the previous five years (but when older than children), received financial or other benefits from the illicit activity and knew or reasonably should have known that the money or other benefit came from the illicit activity.
  • Conviction of an aggravated felony, if the person was removed from the U.S. and seeks to return (this ground of inadmissibility lasts for 20 years)
  • Seeking to enter the U.S. to engage in money laundering, or a history of having laundered money, or having been (according to the knowledge of the U.S. government) a knowing aider, abettor, assister, conspirator, or colluder with money launderers.

These are the straightforward crimes that are mentioned in the immigration law. The statute also lists a number of security violations, such as involvement in espionage, sabotage, terrorism, Nazi persecution, totalitarian parties, and so forth.

Once an illegal immigrant is deported, how long before they can come back to the United States?

If an illegal immigrant has a deportation or removal order in their immigration file, it's possible that they won’t be allowed to enter the U.S. for five, ten, or even 20 years.

The applicable law comes from Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.).

Five-Year Ban: If they were summarily removed or deported upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry because they were found inadmissible, or if they came to the U.S. but were immediately put into removal proceedings and then removed or deported, they may be ineligible to return to the U.S. for five years. The five-year ban also applies if they failed to show up for their removal hearing in the United States.

Ten-Year Ban: If a ‘removal order’ was issued at the conclusion of their removal hearing in Immigration Court, they may not be able to return for ten years after their removal or departure.

Twenty-Year Ban: If they were convicted of an aggravated felony or have received more than one order of removal, they are barred from returning to the U.S. for 20 years. And if they entered without permission after having been removed, or illegally reentered the U.S. after having previously been in the U.S. unlawfully for more than one year, they may be barred from entering the United States for 20 years or permanently.

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This facility, known as "Pike County Correctional Facility" is also known as ICE Detention Facility, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.