Army Memo re: Detainee Holding Area Guidance

Memo outlines standard operating procedure for detention facilities, including treatment of detainees with dignity, proper filing of paperwork, staffing, use of minimum force necessary, feeding schedules, uniforms, medical treatment, special detainee privileges, and special procedures for female and underage detainees.

Non-legal Memo
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Tuesday, March 22, 2005


AFZX-CS-S2 18 December 03
Subject: RSS/RHA Detainee Holding Area Guidance
OPORD 03-06 [Procedures for detainees of intelligence interest and criminal detainees]

2 ACR FRAGO 139 [Regimental Holding Area]

ENCLOSURE 1 [Min Standards for Brigade Holding Areas] FRAGO 539A, OPORD 03-215

1 AD PAM 1-201 Command Inspection Checklist [Detainee Holding Facilities] September 2003

1.Regimental Support Squadron (RSS) will maintain the Regimental Detainee Holding Area (RHA). This guidance will assist in the daily operations of the Facility and ensure its compliance with International Humanitarian Law. RHA personnel will treat the detained personnel with dignity and respect and will handle all detainees with the minimum force necessary as required by the situation.
RHA personnel will not assume responsibility for any detainee until such time that all required documentation has been correctly filled out and all personal effects have been inventoried, cataloged, and stored. When appropriate, detainees will be segregated based upon their individual status. Criminal detainees must be segregated from EPWs and internees held for intelligence or security reasons.

A RHA advisory counsel will meet NLT 0800 hrs daily to review the detainee case files to ensure compliance with established procedures and that the detainee is processed and ready to be transferred or released. At a minimum, the counsel will consist of the Squadron S-2, and Assistant Operations. Officer, and RHA NCOIC. No detainee will be moved, transferred or released from the RHA without the RSS Squadron Commander's. approval.

RHA guard force will maintain a ratio of 5:1 between detainees and guards with a minimum of 2 guards present at all times. The RHA NCOIC will maintain the guard roster and will ensure that it is posted weekly. At no other time will the roster be altered without the approval of the RHA NCOIC. Sections tasked to provide guards will ensure that the RHA NCOIC is notified of planned missions that require the roster to be altered. Sections will not pull guards without ensuring that there is a replacement.

RHA NCOIC will ensure that one guard is on roving duty monitoring the activities of the detainees in their respective cells at all times. This guard will record their initials and time of their check, at a minimum every 30 minutes on the cell inspection form. If available a second guard will be utilized as an outdoor roving guard to ensure secondary perimeter security.

At a minimum, the RHA guard force will:

Treat all detainees with dignity and respect. Detained Foreign Military Officers will be treated as appropriate to their rank.

Handle all detainees with the minimum force necessary as required by the situation. No form of abuse, physical or mental (including the use of abusive language), will be directed at the detainees.

Interior guards will check all cells with detainees constantly. At least once every 30 minutes checks will be recorded on cell logs. Guards coming onto shift will ensure the presence of all detainees and their compliance of established guidelines as brief to them upon their reception at RHA.


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If a detainee is unaccounted, at any time guards, will IMEDIATELY report the absence to the Shift NCOIC who will in turn notify Camp Muleskinner FPC at DNVT: 587-5027.

Prior to shift change the outgoing Shift NCOIC will conduct a full inspection of the RHA area and conduct a prisoner count with the incoming Shift NCOIC present. Only after inspections are complete and detainees are accounted for will the outgoing NCOIC and Guards be relived of duty.

Guards will read and review all special instructions prior to assuming guard duties in RHA.

Ensure that detainees maintain the cleanliness of their respective holding cell. The guard force is responsible for the cleanliness of the common areas and police call around the RHA. Police call and trash removal will be conducted at the change of shifts. Daily inspections of cells will be conducted to ensure integrity, security, and cleanliness of the cells. Any attempts to weaken the cells will result in the detainee being restrained (zip-tied) and removed from the cell so that repairs / corrections can be made.

Ensure that the detainees are provided meals (MREs) and water throughout their shift. Meals will be given out at 0800, 1200, and 1800 hours daily. Empty water bottles will be filled and given to each detainee upon request. Guards will ensure there is enough potable water on hand to re-fill the bottles as needed.

Maintain and enforce the uniform policy. The uniform for inside the RHA is DCUs, but may be upgraded as the situation dictates. At no time will the guards remove their blouse while on duty. RHA guards will enforce this standard.

While out of the ready room guards will not eat, drink soft drinks, read, write letters, or conduct any other business that may distract them while on duty. Guards will perform their duties IAW FM 22-6 and established procedures. Guards are not permitted to leave the RHA without ensuring that the detainee guard ration is maintained. Guards will be permitted to leave the RHA to use the latrine, however, they are not permitted to go to the barracks/ sleeping areas to wake up the next shift.

Maintain an "Amber" weapon status with magazine in well and the selector switch on safe. Upon shift change, the off going guards will move to the nearest clearing barrel and clear their weapon. Guards will maintain positive control of their weapons while on duty. At no time will the weapon be left unattended or under the control of another guard.

1. The Stand-by guards will escort detainees being transferred to the DIF or Corps Holding Area. The only exception it this is when all detainees are being transferred the current shift will provide the escort.
7. Upon arrival and while detained the detainees will:
Be interviewed by the RHA NCOIC, CI agent, or Squadron S-2 and screened for medical problems or signs of physical abuse.

Have any restraints (hand-cuffs, zip-ties) replaced so that their hands are in front. Zip-ties will be placed so that they secure the detainee's hands, but not to the extent that they pose a medical risk. Restraining devices will be used until the detainee is determined that he/she is no longer a security risk. This determination will be made during the interview with S-2 or CI personnel.

No talking until after the completion of the initial interview. If a detainee refuses to adhere to this policy, the RHA guards are authorized to gag them. By taping his / her mouth. The gag will not be placed so that it poses a medical risk. Detainees will be briefed on this policy upon arrival with the assistance of a qualified translator.

Be permitted, after the initial interview, to walk freely around their respective cell. They will not be permitted outside of the cell unless under escort. The only authorized reasons for leaving the cell are to use the latrine, to be moved for questioning, or as directed by the chain of command.

Be permitted, upon completion of the initial interview, to conduct religious activities (pray). If needed, the RHA guards will un-bind the detainee's hands.

8. If any medical issue is identified, the RHA NCOIC will be notified and proper medical treatment will be given. The medics on site will assess the EPW to determine what is needed. If determined that the detainee has to be transferred to the medical treatment facility, RSS, Transportation will be provided with guards to RSS. The medic will stay with the patient as needed to brief the on call PA of symptoms found.

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9. If adequate supplies are available, detainees will be permitted to conduct personal hygiene in the morning under the supervision of the RHA guards.
10.Requests for special privileges, such as smoking, will be brought to the attention of the RHA NCOIC, Squadron Assistant Operations Officer, S-2, or chain of command for action. The decision will be made based on the detainee's status and overall demeanor/ level of cooperation.
11.All EPWs that are of 17 years or younger and or female will be put in a separate cell. At no time will a male soldier search a female EPW. A female soldier will be requested if not available to conduct the search in the presence of an NCO and a translator. At no time will this ever be negotiated to save time.
12.While in the RHA, the detainee will be treated within the guideline established under international humanitarian law and through military channels. RHA guards are permitted to use the appropriate force, including deadly force, if needed. If force is used, it will be reported and if need, an investigation will be conducted by the command. If determined that excessive force or any form of abuse was used on the detainees, the person or persons can be subject to disciplinary actions under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.
13.Point of contact for this policy memorandum is

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