Numbers in immigration detention centres must be 'boldly' reduced - report

Posted On: 
15th January 2016

The Government must “boldly reduce and without delay” the 30,000 migrants held at immigration detention centres each year, an independent report has demanded.

Former prisons and probation ombudsman Stephen Shaw also said there should be a ban on the detention of pregnant women and a “presumption against detention” for immigrants with learning difficulties.

Victims of rape and sexual offences and people with post-traumatic stress disorder should also not be held in the centres, Mr Shaw said.

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The six-month review, commissioned by Theresa May, sought to probe claims of harsh treatment at the UK's 10 immigration detention centres.

Mr Shaw insisted numbers must reduce “both for reasons of welfare and to deliver better use of public money”.

He said: “There is too much detention; detention is not a particularly effective means of ensuring that those with no right to remain do in fact leave the UK; and many practices and processes associated with detention are in urgent need of reform.”

He added: “Most of those currently in detention do not represent a serious [or any] risk to the public, and many represent a very low risk of non-compliance because of their strong domestic links to the UK.”

The report also found no correlation between the numbers detained and the number of people lawfully deported.

It was published only this week despite being presented to the Home Secretary in September.

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said the Government plans to improve mental health assessments for detainees and minimise detention ahead of deportation.

“The Government expects these reforms, and broader changes in legislation and policy to lead to a reduction of in the number of those detained, and the duration of detention before removal,”​ he said,