Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Sued for Allowing the Berks County Detention Center to Continue to Operate


Press Contacts: 

Jennifer Lee, [email protected], 303-263-7106

David Bennion, [email protected], 646-441-0741

Sundrop Carter, [email protected], 610-217-8222

Philadelphia – Four years after the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (PA DHS) revoked the Berks County Detention Center’s license to operate, a new lawsuit has been filed against PA DHS for continuing to allow Berks County to detain migrant families.

It has been four years since PA DHS revoked the license for the Berks County Family Detention Center (BCRC) because the detention of children violates Pennsylvania law. Since this initial license revocation in 2016, Berks County has applied for new licenses each subsequent year. Instead of denying these licenses, PA DHS has continued to allow the detention center to operate. We demand that PA DHS  be held accountable for its duty to protect all children in Pennsylvania.

WHAT: Press Conference held by the Shut Down Berks Coalition detailing the lawsuit against Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

WHEN: Thursday, February 20th, 2020, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. 

WHERE: Pennsylvania Department of Human Services,1515 Arch St. (16th St. entrance), Philadelphia

WHO: Shut Down Berks Coalition, Temple University Sheller Center for Social Justice, PICC, Free Migration Project, CASA, Sunrise Berks

During this four-year period when PA DHS has allowed to the Berks Detention Center to remain open, there has been case after case of medical neglect and mistreatment:

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has failed to protect immigrant children and families by allowing the continued detention of families. However, PA DHS is not unique in its failure to address this inhumane detention within our state. Governor Wolf has also side-stepped responsibility by failing to issue an Emergency Removal Order (ERO) and demanding ICE stop using this facility for family detention.

It is time for Pennsylvania to stand up for children and close this inhumane detention center.


The Shut Down Berks Coalition is a group of organizations and individuals fighting to close the Berks family prison in Pennsylvania and end the practice of imprisoning immigrant families in the U.S.