BREAKING: Today we submitted our final settlement to the Court in Savino v. Souza, the facility-wide class action calling for the release of all people held in immigration detention in the Bristol County House of Correction. The starting population of 148 is down to 7. Thread 1/X
This is one of the most important cases I have ever had the privilege of filing and litigating. It began March when people inside BCHOC organized and complained about the horrendous conditions inside and the threat to their lives posed by COVID-19 and their detention. 2/X
From there we filed a facility-wide class action calling for the release of everyone. The Court certified our class and, after finding that BCHOC was likely deliberately indifferent, granted a preliminary injunction halting new admissions to BCHOC and ordering testing. 3/X
The Court then began the process of admitting people to bail so they could be home with their families during the pendency of the case. We got to know each person's circumstances intimately as the Court made person by person decisions in the class. 4/X
In granting the PI the Court laid out an indictment of our immigration system "we are spending millions of our national treasure to lock up thousands of people who might better be released…without impairing the safety of our citizens or the operations of our government.” 5/X
On May 1st people inside rose up demanding better conditions and the BCHOC responded with unnecessary force. This incident caused the Mass AG among others to investigate the facility. 6/X
The AGO report details serious violations of law on behalf of the BCHOC and its Sheriff and recommends that DHS cancel all contracts with BCHOC so that it cannot be in the business of immigration detention any longer. mass.gov/doc/ago-report… 7/X
Numerous other legal teams across the country were able to use the bail release system from Savino as a model for amazing litigation that has lead to the release of hundreds of people. Many of those cases are still ongoing. 8/X
This settlement principally provides that: 1) 6 additional people will be released; 2) the release conditions that people were under will be made drastically less on onerous and; 3) anyone remaining inside will be offered the opportunity to transfer 9/X
The fight against ICE and human caging is long and full of disappointments. It is therefore vital to celebrate victories. This case was the product of wonderful organizing inside and out, bold vision, and creative litigation, collaboration, and advocacy. 10/X
It has been, and continues to be, an honor to collaborate with @LCRBOSTON, @WiracYls and WilmerHale on this case (+ @HLS_Immigration on appeal). In particular, it has been amazing to work with such dedicated and brilliant clinic students who dove headfirst into this case. 11/X
The settlement must still be approved by the Court, but this is a momentous step forward after a hard fought battle and many more people are free than once were.

You can learn more about this case and @RightsBehind's other work at rightsbehindbars.org
12/End

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