Prisons Inspector slams ‘unacceptable’ detention

The Chief Inspector of Prisons has added his voice to the growing chorus of condemnation of the state of British immigration detention.


In his report on Harmondsworth, published today, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke finds it ‘unacceptable that conditions were allowed to decline so much’ under the previous contractor, GEO.

Recording that one man had been detained for a total of five years, the Chief Inspector called once again for a time limit on detention.

The Chief Inspector found that vulnerable people were being kept in detention despite evidence from doctors of the harm it was causing them.  In one case, a detention centre doctor repeatedly urged the Home Office to release a person whose health was being injuriously affected by detention, yet was ignored and the person stayed in detention.

Last month, the Home Secretary’s own review into welfare in detention, led by Stephen Shaw, concluded that the detention of mentally ill people with inadequate care was ‘an affront to civilised values.’

Detention Action Director Jerome Phelps said:

‘The detention system as a whole should not have been allowed to reach this state.  Once again, detention has been shown to be failing to meet the minimum standards that society demands.  The Home Office detains far too many people, with inadequate care, for far too long.  The Government has accepted the need for reform; this report shows that that reform must be urgent and fundamental.’

You can read the Detention Forum statement on the latest Harmondsworth report, here.