Refugee Council response to HMIP report on Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre, published today

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30 Aug 2018

Two new reports have been published by Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, following separate inspections of the facilities in April 2018. Alongside some evidence of good care, the Inspector has raised several concerns about each of these units, including:

- Though there was little violence or tension between detainees, 40% of men being detained at Tinsley House reported feeling unsafe. Mr Clarke added: “While this was often a result of uncertainty over their immigration cases, many detainees told us staff had threatened to have them transferred to the neighbouring Brook House IRC and it was a concern that detainees and staff regarded being moved to another IRC as a punishment.”

 - Though support for those at Tinsley House who were assessed as at risk of self-harm was generally good, the Home Office is still detaining people who are victims of torture 

- Mr Clarke’s comments about the overall picture were: “In some areas outcomes had deteriorated and systems for safeguarding detainees required continuous focus. There was also a danger that the needs of Brook House would undermine the focus on Tinsley House. However, overall, Tinsley House remained a reasonably decent and safe centre, and one of the better establishments we have inspected.”

 - When describing family detention at Tinsley House IRC, Clarke commented: “Attempts to remove the small number of detained families were largely unsuccessful and the unit was being used even less frequently than its predecessor. In the 11 months that it had been opened, 19 families had been detained in the pre-departure accommodation and only four of them were eventually removed. This was troubling given the harmful effect that arrest and detention inevitably has on children who witness their parents becoming very distressed; during the inspection, children saw their parents being physically restrained.”

Responding to these reports, Dr Lisa Doyle, Director of Advocacy at the Refugee Council, said:

“We know only too well that detaining people can have a catastrophic impact on their mental health and wellbeing. These findings highlight that children continue to be detained – an act the Government promised to abolish. In most cases this was completely futile, with only 4 of 19 families detained in Tinsley House being eventually removed from the UK. The Government must end this harmful practice.”