Immigration Detention Dispatch – 10 November 2016

Councillors veto Dungavel replacement, frustrating Home Office plans


Credit: Takver

Catch up on the fortnight’s immigration detention news

Revealed this fortnight

  1. Scottish detention centre rejected. Plans to open a new immigration removal centre next to Glasgow aiport have been unanimously rejected by members of Renfrewshire Council. The BBC has more.
  2. Home Office forced to review ‘unlawful’ curfews. The Home Office has been ordered to review its strict curfews for people have recently left immigration detention. The curfews, which require subjects to remain housebound for 12 hour stretches, were ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal in May. The BBC has more.
  3. Plans to convert removal centre into prison ditched. The government has announced that it won’t follow through with its plans to convert Haslar immigration detention centre, which was shut down last year, into a prison. ITV News has more.

In other news

  1. ‘Home Office’ subvertising posters highlight deaths in custody. The posters, which carry Home Office branding but were created by Black Lives Matter to draw attention to high death rates in UK prisons and immigration detention centres, were stuck up in bus stops across London and Manchester. The Guardian has more.
  2. Mother to spend third consecutive Christmas in immigration detention. Mabel Gawanas, who has spent two years inside Yarl’s Wood detention centre, has been told that she will have to remain in the centre until her High Court appeal against her removal is heard next year. The Bedfordshire on Sunday has more.
  3. Hackney play addresses love in detention. The new play Removal Men, to be staged in Hackney Wick’s Yard Theatre, tells the story of a detention officer who falls in love with a detainee. The Hackney Citizen has more.


Immigration Detention in Parliament

Sexual violence handling

Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, asked how many women detained in Yarl’s Wood in the past 12 months have reported a history of being subjected to sexual violence, and how many of those remain in detention.

Robert Goodwill, the Immigration Minister, replied that the information is not readily accessible and would cost too much to obtain, but that a detention “gate-keeping team” reviews all cases prior to detention and takes reports of sexual violence into account as part of its Adults at Risk policy.

Dungavel closure

Carol Monaghan, SNP MP for Glasgow North West; John McNally, SNP MP for Falkirk; and Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, all asked about the proposed closure of Dungavel immigration removal centre and its anticipated replacement.

Monaghan asked whether Dungavel will remain in operation until a new centre is ready; Robert Goodwill confirmed that this is the case.

McNally argued that Dungavel’s closure should be part of a government strategy to reduce its use of detention. Robert Goodwill replied that detention is always a last resort and the government aims to minimise its use of detention.

Newlands stated that the government’s record on immigration detention is disgraceful and asked whether it would use the closure of Dungavel to rethink its strategy.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, replied that the government has made a number of changes to its detention system, but that detention is necessary in certain circumstances.

‘Without Detention’

Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, asked Robert Goodwill what his assessment was of Detention Action’s recent report, Without Detention.

Goodwill replied that the government uses alternatives to detention where possible and has strengthened its safeguards for detaining vulnerable people.




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