. . . . We were disturbed to observe some unprofessional conduct by external escort staff.
. . . . we were concerned to find two recent examples of forced medication applied to detainees threatening self-harm, which had not been subject to thorough review to ensure their appropriateness.
. . . . We were particularly troubled by the plight of single women.
. . . . Living conditions were appropriate for most detainees, but the conditions for single women were extremely poor.
. . . . Their situation should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
. . . . it was of particular concern that school-age children were not offered appropriately planned and structured educational opportunities.
. . . . there were examples of detainees given tranquilisers inappropriately without their consent.
. . . . overseas escorts showed little grasp of how to de-escalate a charged situation, using control and restraint prematurely.
. . . . Prolonged detention was not adequately explained or reviewed. When detainees made bail applications for independent review of detention by a court, BIA disclosure was sometimes prejudicially late and inaccurate.
. . . . the family unit was not adequate to provide for the complex needs of children and families.
. . . . there had been no progress on substantive areas of care since inspectorate recommendations as far back as 2002.
. . . . Separation had been used inappropriately to manage detainees who had self-harmed.
Download the full report: http://www.ncadc.org.uk/Newszine97/TinsleyHouse2008.pdf
Tinsley House immigration removal centre at Gatwick airport, run by GSL, holds men, women and children, most of whom are awaiting removal. When we last visited we noted some improvements, but expressed concern about the detention of children in such a setting. On our return, for this full announced inspection, we found conditions for male detainees remained generally satisfactory, but all detainees lacked sufficient activities and appropriate support to prepare for release. Our concerns over provision for children remained, and we now considered that conditions for the much reduced number of single women were unacceptable.
For male detainees, who made up the majority of the population, Tinsley House remained a generally safe and respectful place. Reception and induction arrangements were sound, save for the lack of room sharing risk assessments. Security was not unnecessarily intrusive and there was little recourse to use of force or separation, but the lack of proper furniture in the separation room was excessive. There was little bullying or self-harm, although detainees were inevitably anxious about legal and immigration issues.
Our principal concerns about safety related to children. While staff in the family centre made considerable efforts to support children and their families, they could do little to mitigate the damaging effects of their detention, the length of which often extended into days or even weeks. While support from local social services staff had improved, there was still a lack of appropriate care planning and no formal links with local children's safeguarding arrangements. Not all staff had received child protection training.
While most accommodation was clean and adequate, ventilation remained poor. Staff-detainee relationships were observed to be reasonable, although this was hard to validate as history sheets were not used and there were no care officers. We were disturbed to observe some unprofessional conduct by external escort staff. Healthcare was generally good, but we were concerned to find two recent examples of forced medication applied to detainees threatening self-harm, which had not been subject to thorough review to ensure their appropriateness. Faith services were good, but too little attention was paid to other diversity issues, and interpretation was underused.
We were particularly troubled by the plight of single women. Their numbers had dwindled. At one point during the inspection, there was only one and she lay in bed most of the day avoiding the communal accommodation. The amount and quality of accommodation now afforded to single women had been reduced, and they appeared marginalised and almost forgotten. They were left to share facilities within a mainly male establishment and this could be both embarrassing and intimidating. Their situation should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Tinsley House, in common with most immigration removal facilities, lacked sufficient activities to occupy detainees, some of whom remained at the centre for many months. There had been improvements in certain areas, for example language classes, but otherwise provision was limited. There was still no voluntary or paid work. While qualified care workers gave good support to young children, it was of particular concern that school-age children were not offered appropriately planned and structured educational opportunities.
Disappointingly, Tinsley House had made little progress in terms of preparing detainees for release. Despite our previous recommendations, no welfare officer had been appointed and this left an over-reliance on the commendable - but stretched - services of voluntary bodies.
Access to phones, including mobiles, was good and visits arrangements were satisfactory, but there was still no access to the intenet.
Tinsley House has the difficult task of managing discrete populations of single men, single women and families with or without children. Provision for the majority male population remained adequate, although all detainees had insufficient activities and limited support to prepare for release. However, our principal concerns related to children and single women. Staff did their best to support the care of children, but the centre remained poorly equipped to mitigate the inevitably damaging effects of substantial periods of detention on such a vulnerable population. Moreover, since our last visit, the numbers of single women had fallen and they were now isolated and marginalised. This situation cannot be allowed to continue and, with the opening of the neighbouring Brook House immigration removal centre, Tinsley House should be refurbished and redesigned to become a dedicated facility for families and single women who need, exceptionally, to be detained.
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, June 2008
End of Bulletin:
Source for this Message:
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, June 2008