Detention Center FAQs

Contract between Howard County and the ICE

Explain the contract between Howard County and ICE.

Howard County has a long-standing contract with ICE to house individuals in ICE custody.  The Detention Center does not accept any individuals held solely on administrative or civil immigration charges. Under the revised policy, the Howard County Department of Corrections will still accept ICE detainees who have been convicted of a crime of violence as defined in Md. Criminal Law Code Annotated section 14-101.  The list of violent crimes included in the statute have been defined by the Maryland General Assembly and examples of such crimes include murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and more serious assaults and sexual offenses.  However, pretrial detainees who have been only charged with crimes, including crimes of violence, but who have not yet been convicted, would no longer be eligible for being housed in the Detention Center. 


What are the criteria for taking ICE detainees into the Detention Center?

Individuals are never detained solely because of their immigration status.  The Detention Center only accepts ICE detainees under the conditions listed above. 


What are some examples of the charges against those being detained?

As of June 29, 2020, 29 ICE detainees are housed in the Detention Center under the contract with ICE.  Several have been convicted of or charged with CDS possession for substances other than marijuana, and several have been convicted or charged with DUI / DWI coupled with other misdemeanors, and in one case with three DUI / DWI offenses.  The majority includes validated gang members and persons who have been convicted of or charged with felonies, including Murder, Attempted Murder, Armed Robbery, Arson, Rape-1st degree, Racketeering, Child Abuse, Sex Abuse of a Minor, Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, Handgun Possession, Conspiracy to Murder A Police Officer, Assault, False Imprisonment, Child Pornography, Sex Offense – Second Degree, Kidnapping, Manslaughter, and Carjacking. 


Has the Howard County Detention Center ever housed any non-criminal ICE detainees under the contract with ICE?

In 2017, one person who did not meet the criteria was mistakenly detained and held for three days.  Since then, the Detention Center has put enhanced screening and monitoring measures into place to ensure that it does not happen again. 


What is the average length of stay for detainees?

96 days.


Are the facilities overcrowded?

No, the Detention Center is at less than 50% capacity as of June 29, 2020.


Does the detention center house women and children?

The Detention Center does not and has never housed women or children.


What is the per diem rate paid by ICE to Howard County?

The County's current per diem rate is $110.00 per detainee per day.  This covers food, medical care, and other costs, including overhead costs, associated with housing ICE detainees in the facility. Howard County provides very specific documentation to justify our per diem rate.  A recent review showed that the actual costs associated with housing ICE detainees is $118.00 per detainee per day. 


Are the detention center staff employed by Howard County or ICE? 

Detention Center staff are employed by Howard County, with the exception of medical staff, who are employed by the medical contractor, ConMed.


Would CB9-2017 (Sanctuary legislation) have ended the ICE contract? 

No. CB9 never called for a cancellation of the ICE contract with the Detention Center. The CB9 legislation, which was vetoed by the prior Administration, was primarily focused on ensuring Howard County officials, including our police officers, did not inquire about a person's immigration status or assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. In a January 10, 2017 statement from then Councilmembers Ball and Terrasa, the sponsors of CB9, reinforced why the legislation was important which included DACA students living in fear and victims of domestic violence who were afraid to call the police. They also noted in that same statement that CB9 did “nothing to jeopardize existing cooperation from ICE in targeting criminal activity within Howard County.”  In 2017, the Police Department revised its policies to make clear that police officers do not ask about immigration status or take action based on a person's immigration status.


What are the nearest detention centers that have contracts with ICE?

Other in-state facilities that house ICE detainees are Worcester County (135 miles away) and Frederick County.  The next closest facilities are located in Virginia and Pennsylvania. 


Are there any state prisons in Howard County?  If so, who has authority over them?

The Patuxent Institution, also located in Howard County, is a State correctional facility that operates under the authority of the State Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The Secretary of Public Safety is Robert Green. This facility has no connection to the County Detention Center.


Are the Howard County Police involved in transporting detainees?

Howard County police make arrests and transport individuals to the Detention Center only for violation of State criminal laws or under the authority of criminal warrants issued by State or federal judges.  They are not involved in any way with taking ICE detainees into custody or transporting them to the Detention Center.  When ICE agents make arrests, they process all intakes at their Baltimore field office and then a private contractor transports the detainees to the Detention Center.


Does Howard County use county resources to enforce federal immigration laws?

No, we do not use County resources to enforce federal immigration law.  The contract between Howard County and ICE provides that the County is paid to house individuals in ICE custody who meet the criteria listed above.  Howard County police do not take action based on immigration status or otherwise enforce federal immigration laws.


What is a 287(g) agreement and has Howard County entered into one?

The 287(g) program authorizes local law enforcement agencies to assist ICE with enforcement of immigration laws.  Howard County does not and has never participated in the 287(g) program.  Howard County police take action only for violations of State criminal law.


How can I find out if an ICE Detainee is in the Howard County Detention Center?

You would need to contact the Baltimore ICE office:

Frank Madrigal

Acting Field Office Director

Baltimore Field Office

202-567-9224 cell

410-637-3653 desk


What is the process if someone thinks that someone is being held only because of a civil violation of federal immigration laws or does not meet any of the criteria?

Please call the Detention Center Director immediately at 410 313-5230.

How COVID has impacted the Detention Center

What steps has the Detention Center taken to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19?

Protocols to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure have been in place since March 1.  The protocols have been continuously revised based upon recommendations of the Health Department and CDC.  Som