Children are still being wrongfully detained at Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre, a new report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons has revealed.
Inspectors reported that in 2013 three detainees were discovered to be children, with one 16 year old being imprisoned for 62 days following an incorrect age assessment by social services.
The report uncovered that another boy had been locked up by mistake after an official authorised his detention despite computer records clearly stating he was 17. After three days in detention, the boy was released into the care of social services.
Refugee Council Policy Manager Judith Dennis said: “Unaccompanied children arrive in the UK alone, frightened and often traumatised. It’s deeply disturbing that they can then be thrown into adult detention centres and left to fend for themselves.”
Elsewhere, Inspectors found that 14 people had been held in the centre for more than six months – the longest for 11 months. One detainee’s removal was delayed for two months because the escort contractors’ vehicles failed to arrive on time.
The report comes ahead of a planning meeting on 19 February where Cherwell District Council authorities will decide whether or not to extend Campsfield House to double its capacity. The proposals have been met with fierce opposition; with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg the latest politician to voice concerns.
Refugee Council’s Judith Dennis added: “The Government appears so intent on locking up as many asylum seekers as possible that it’s wrongly imprisoning children too.
“It’s high time the inhumane, inefficient and expensive practice of detaining asylum seekers is consigned to the history books, where it belongs.”
There’s still time to oppose the plans to expand Campsfield House, find out how here.