At midnight on Friday, Judge Cooke of the Southern District of Florida issued An Omnibus Order issuing a preliminary injunction certifying a class in the Gayle COVID-19 case and granting a motion to compel compliance with the Court’s April 30 temporary restraining order.
The Gayle case challenges the continued detention of people at three detention centers in Florida (Krome, Broward Transitional Center, and Glades) in light of the COVID-19 threat. Although the Court’s order does not order any person released, it imposes numerous stringent conditions on ICE and demands compliance with the CDC guidelines, including those relating to transfers, social distancing, cohorting, and hygiene.
The Court’s order extends not only to people detained at Krome, Broward Transitional Center, and Glades in Florida but to anyone who was at the facility since April 13 2020 but who was transferred.For example, if a person detained at Krome on April 13 was transferred to a detention center in Louisiana on April 14, the injunction still applies to the class member. Or, if a person tomorrow is detained for a day at Krome and is then transferred to a Georgia detention center, the injunction applies to the class member at the Georgia detention center.
Specifically, the Court ordered the following:
a. ICE is permitted to transfer detainees but only after performing a verbal screening and a temperature check as outlined in the CDC Guidelines before the individual leaves the facility.
b. Within ten (10) days of this Order, ICE shall submit weekly Court documentation of its evaluations for release before any transfer is executed. The documentation must include an evaluation of each prospective transfer candidate for COVID-19. NOTE: This provision makes it clear that ICE cannot transfer people before telling the Court why it wishes to transfer a person.
c. ICE must provide a new mask to each transferee before the transfer process begins.
d. The Court shall retain jurisdiction over all class members who are transferred to other facilities regardless of where those facilities are located.
e. ICE shall not engage in the practice of cohorting unless ICE confirms through testing or other means that a prospective cohort candidate is a confirmed COVID-19 case.
With respect to the preliminary injunction, the Court ordered:
a. ICE shall immediately comply with the CDC and ICE guidelines by providing Petitioners and the class members with unrestricted access to hand soap, hand sanitizer, and disposable hand towels to facilitate handwashing.
b. Provide cleaning supplies for each housing area and CDC-recommended disinfectants in sufficient quantities to facilitate frequent cleaning, including in quantities sufficient for each inmate to clean and disinfect the floor and all surfaces of his own housing cubicle, and provide new gloves and masks for each inmate during each time they are cleaning or performing janitorial services.
c. Provide all inmates and staff members with masks and educate them on the importance and proper use of masks.
d. Increase regular cleaning and disinfecting of all common areas and surfaces, including common-use items such as television controls, books, and gym and sports equipment.
e. Limit transportation of detainees to only instances regarding immediately necessary medical appointments and release from custody.
f. For transportation necessary for prisoners to receive medical treatment or be released, CDC-recommended social distancing requirements should be strictly enforced in buses, vans, and planes.
g. Post signage and information in common areas that provides: (i) general updates and information about the COVID-19 pandemic; (ii) information on how inmates can protect themselves from contracting COVID-19; and (iii) instructions on how to properly wash hands. Among other locations, all signage must be posted in every housing area and above every sink.
h. Educate inmates on the COVID-19 pandemic by providing information about the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 symptoms, COVID-19 transmission, and how to protect oneself from COVID-19.
i. ICE shall perform an internal review pursuant to ICE’s PRR and file with the Court weekly reports (every Friday by 4:00 P.M.) on the following:
– The number of detainees who have been released;
– Which facility they were released from; and
– The nature of the detainee released (e.g., in a high-risk category because of age or a specific, documented medical condition, etc.).
j. Within ten (10) days of this Order, ICE shall submit weekly (every Monday by 4:00 P.M.) reports on the following:
– How many detainees it is housing on the date of reporting;
– At which of the three centers the detainees are being housed;
– Which of the detainees are considered “mandatory detainees”; and
– Which of the detainees have no prior criminal convictions and no pending criminal charges.