February 14, 2005
Professor testifies before Congress on treatment
By Jennifer McNulty
Psychology professor Craig Haney made a whirlwind trip to Washington,
D.C., last week to testify before Congress about a study he
coauthored for the United States Commission of Religious Freedom
on the detention conditions under which asylum seekers are kept
in the United States.
Craig Haney. Photo: UCSC Photo
The report concluded that thousands of people who come to
the United States seeking refuge from persecution are treated
poorly. Many are held indefinitely in detention centers and
forced to share quarters with inmates facing criminal prosecution.
Asylum seekers also receive disparate treatment depending on
their country of origin and where they arrive in the United
States, according to the report.
The findings received widespread media attention, including
reports in the New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald,
and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Associated Press
distributed a story widely, and National Public Radio broadcast
a report about the bipartisan commissions findings.
Haney, who briefed the Senate Judiciary Committee and members
of the House of Representatives, participated in a briefing
at the National Press Club and fielded numerous media queries.
An expert on the psychological effects of incarceration, Haney
said he was taken aback by the severity of conditions,
according to the New York Times report.
Haney coauthored the section of the study on detention. The
reports authors made numerous recommendations to the Department
of Homeland Security, which administers the asylum system, including
a proposal to create an office to address asylum-related issues.
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