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RESPONSE TO REPORTS ON IMMIGRATION REMOVAL CENTRES

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Responding to the publication of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of ...
Responding to the publication of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of

Prisons (HMIP) reports into five immigration removal centres in the

IND estate, (Campsfield House, Haslar, Lindholme, Oakington Reception

Centre and Tinsley House), Home Office minister Beverley Hughes

commented:

'Immigration removal centres are a key part of our radical asylum

reforms to put in place an effective end to end process. They are

essential to ensure effective immigration control and speedy removal

of those who have no right to be here.

'We are committed to ensuring that detainees are treated with respect

and decency, and have put in place the process for an independent

inspection of immigration removal centres to ensure a transparent

inspection regime to ensure this. These reports are the first of

their kind and we welcome them.

'The inspectorate have made a number of detailed recommendations to

which we will give careful consideration. However, a large proportion

of the findings reflect only the comments of the detainees

themselves. As people are generally unhappy about being detained and

removed from the country, it is unsurprising that they express

dissatisfaction with their situation.

'The reports also recommend that children should not be detained for

more than seven days. I am deeply sympathetic to the concerns about

the detention of children, which whilst regrettable, is at times

essential. However, no one, including families, is detained for

longer than necessary.

'It is completely impractical to suggest a time limit - which would

enable people to evade removal by lodging last minute and time-

wasting appeals.

'The inspections were conducted shortly after Haslar and Lindholme

were redesignated and since then there has been a gradual process of

improvement. However, we will look carefully at the recommendations

to ensure they are fully complying with the standards set elsewhere.'

Note

1. Powe r for Her Majesty's Chief Inspectorate of Prisons to inspect

immigration removal centres is in section 152(5) of the Immigration

and Asylum Act 1999.

2. HMCIP were invited to inspect Tinsley House Immigration Removal

Centre in August 1997. This is the only previous inspection by HMCIP

of immigration establishments.

3. These five inspections were carried out during February and March

2002.

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