Brook House independent monitors express concerns for vulnerable detainees and continued detention of victims of torture
In their annual report for 2019, the Independent Monitoring Board for Brook House IRC highlight concerns about the operation of Home Office policies on adults at risk and victims of torture. Of particular concern are:
- Whether the right balance is struck between immigration factors and the wellbeing of vulnerable detainees.
- Whether the system adequately captures an individual’s level of vulnerability or the impact of continued detention on the wellbeing of vulnerable detainees.
- 75% of victims of torture were continued in detention last year, with some victims being held for significant lengths of time. In a seven-month period, at least 19 acknowledged victims of torture continued to be detained for over 12 weeks, and five of them for over 24 weeks.
Positives noted by the IMB for 2019 include:
- Staff–detainee relationships are generally positive, and that an improved staff to detainee ratio may have contributed to this.
- A significant number of improvements in providing organised and purposeful activities for detainees.
- The reduction from 89% to 66% in uses of handcuffs on detainees during escorted moves for hospital visits.
The IMB Chair, Mary Molyneux, said:
“While we consider that staff at Brook House prioritise the safety and welfare of detainees, the IMB has some serious concerns about the Home Office’s current framework for dealing with vulnerable adults in detention and whether it results in adequate protections for all vulnerable detainees. This is especially the case with victims of torture, where significant numbers of victims were continued in detention in 2019.”