Tens of thousands of immigrants wind up being detained on a yearly basis; the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that the total numbers are higher in recent years than they’ve ever been.

Unfortunately, the ACLU also notes that the living conditions these people are subjected to are often not nearly as good as they should be. Part of the problem, they say, is that standards aren’t enforced and there aren’t any strict regulations to make sure that people are given the conditions they deserve.

This can impact them in many ways. It could mean they do not always have access to the medical care that they need. They may have to go without proper mental health care, as well. They may not have access to libraries and telephones. They could be barred access to their own preferred religious services. The list goes on and on.

Furthermore, people who have been detained may not be released for a “prolonged period of time.” They can be held even if they have not shown that they are a flight risk or a danger to the general population. So, not only are they subjected to living conditions that are below what they would expect, but it can be tough for them to see any way out or a light at the end of the tunnel.

Things get even harder for those who don’t have proper legal representation, something that’s all too common. It makes it tough for them to report on these conditions or demand an increase in quality. It’s very important for anyone who has been detained to know what legal rights he or she has.

Source: ACLU, “Immigration Detention Conditions,” accessed Aug. 17, 2017