Around the world, asylum seekers are often often treated as criminals and detained in jails and jail-like facilities. Detention violates the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, exposes women and children to violence and exploitation and limits their access to legal systems.
The United States, historically a leader in refugee protection, continues to detain thousands of asylum-seekers. This costs the government over $2 billion each year. In summer of 2014, the government responded to an influx of women and children fleeing violence in Central America by reinstituting the costly and punitive practices of detaining families. As a result, women and children face horrific detention conditions upon arrival.
Alternatives to detention, particularly community-based support programs, provide better access to legal and social services at a fraction of the cost and have proven to ensure appearance for court dates in more than 90 percent of cases.
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