A highly critical official review into mental health issues in immigration removal centres has finally been published a year after it was delivered to the home secretary, Theresa May. The review by the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations says the relationship between the Home Office and those advising detainees and campaigning on their behalf "has all but broken down in some instances". It says healthcare staff in immigration detention and removal centres report being overwhelmed and exhausted by the volume of cases and demands made on them.
The report, commissioned by the Home Office in January 2013, says "mutual antagonism and suspicion" characterises relationships between immigration officials, campaigning bodies, official watchdogs and voluntary organisations working in the field. Vulnerable detainees may deteriorate in a detention situation where caseworkers, subcontractors, solicitors and other agencies are often in disagreement with one another and thus feeding the detainees' sense of powerlessness, helplessness and fear of the future." Alan Travis in The Guardian, 09/02/2015
The following week, Theresa May asked Stephen Shaw CBE, the former Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales, and a widely respected expert in this field, to lead an independent review into the Home Office policies and operating procedures that have an impact on immigration detainee welfare.
Patrick Wintour writes writes ‘…The system for detaining immigrants and asylum seekers awaiting decisions or deportation has been described as the harshest and most inhumane branch of the UK judicial administration.’ The Guardian, 08/02/2015
Link to Tavistock Report: