Safety concerns in UK immigration detention centres
A Freedom of Information request submitted to the Home Office has revealed that inmates within UK immigration detention centres are being admitted to hospital at the rate of almost one per day. This has sparked fresh concern over the safety of those who have fallen foul of UK immigration laws and found themselves being held in an immigration detention centre. These detainees are often at their most vulnerable, with many fleeing persecution or torture in their own countries and it seems that we are unable to offer them protection when they need it the most.
The report showed that in 2017, 330 immigration detainees were admitted into hospital amid concerns for their health. Self-harm, mental anguish and poor treatment of existing medical conditions were responsible for many of these admissions, demonstrating the poor level of care offered in these immigration centres. Sonya Sceats, the Chief Executive from Freedom from Torture was responsible for submitting the Freedom of Information request and she claims the information makes it clear that ill and vulnerable people are being treated inhumanely through necessary detention.
The Home Office meanwhile, has reiterated that they take great care with the health and welfare needs of those inside the immigration detention centres. They claim that there are trained medical staff available, who offer help and support wherever needed to immigrants whilst they are being held. This is all well and good, but as Sceats questions, should torture survivors or the vulnerable be detained in such a way that does not take into account the sensitive nature of their situation? How can they be expected to cope in such an environment after everything they have suffered?
This information has come to light following a report published by the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), which called for an end to indefinite detention. They stated that the maximum period that the Home Office should be allowed to detain immigrants should be 28 days. Could these figures convince those in power to take another look at the treatment of those coming into our country seeking a better life?