Independent detention review announced - Refugee Council
February 9, 2015

Independent detention review announced

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a narrow review of the welfare of vulnerable detainees imprisoned in Britain’s Immigration Removal Centres.

The review will be headed by former prisons and probation ombudsman Stephen Shaw, and will last around six months. Shaw will examine the mental health of detainees and will review how effectively Home Office policies are being applied as well as judging their appropriateness.

Shaw will also assess which detainees should be deemed as vulnerable, with suggested groups including pregnant women, victims of trafficking and those with mental health or disability issues.

Crucially though, the review will not examine the decision to detain, nor will it examine the other, multiple failings of immigration detention.

Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said: “Sadly, this review won’t even scratch the surface of the ugly cover up occurring at the heart of the British justice system. What is needed is an end to the process by which anonymous officials are given the power to lock up people for as long as the Home Office sees fit, not because they have committed any offences, but because it’s politically expedient to do so.

“If the Government was serious about justice, human rights and protecting vulnerable people, then it would recognise that the immigration detention estate is a product of the dark ages. Ministers should focus their efforts on consigning the whole shameful process to the history books.”