Some immigrants held at a Virginia detention facility for troubled teenagers allege they have been subjected to inhumane punishments, including by being strapped into a restraint chair for hours on end and forced to wear a “spit mask.” Six former detainees of the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center, a facility that houses both Americans and immigrants with behavioral problems, are suing both the center and the government commission that runs it. In sworn statements cited by The New York Times on Saturday, the former detainees say they were subjected to long periods of solitary confinement, injected with psychotropic drugs, and in some cases, beaten while handcuffed or stabbed with pens. One 15-year-old boy from Mexico reportedly said in the lawsuit that he was restrained in a metal chair and forced to wear a mesh hood over his face—the “spit mask”—because he refused to go to his room when told. Others allege that some detainees were forced to sit in the chair so long they wet themselves.
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