Tinsley House independent monitors call for time limit on immigration detention

Board concerned about of safeguarding of vulnerable detainees at Tinsley House.

The Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) – made up of a team of volunteers appointed by ministers to ensure detainees are treated humanely – today publishes its annual report for 2018.

In its report the IMB concludes that:

  • in the main, detainees are treated fairly and humanely at Tinsley House which is in part the product of good relationships at all levels between staff and detainees;
  • there is much good work that is done to care for and support those who are held at the centre prior to their removal from the UK or release back into the community

However, it also raises some concerns and makes recommendations for improvement, including calling for:

  • the introduction of a statutory limit on the time that can be spent in immigration detention, as not knowing how long they will be detained can contribute to a deterioration in detainees’ mental health
  • more clarity and transparency in the way Home Office policy and guidance is applied to vulnerable detainees who are at risk of self-harm and suicide – one man who was a victim of torture, was found with a ligature, and described by G4S staff as ‘shaking, communicating with voices and saying he will take his own life’ remained in detention more than 11 months later, despite numerous Home Office reviews
  • improved publicly funded legal advice and assistance available to detainees to enable them adequately to challenge their continuing detention, including the raising or removal of the 30-minute cap on the initial legal interview.

Notes for editors

 

Tinsley House, Gatwick is managed and operated under contract by G4S on behalf of the Home Office; it is mainly used to hold male detainees who are awaiting decisions on their immigration status and possible removal. It has capacity to hold 162 detainees.