Today (23 Oct) the HM Inspectorate of Prisons has published a report into conditions at the Cedars pre-departure accommodation for families facing removal from the UK. In response to some of the findings, including the use of force on children and pregnant women, Judith Dennis, Policy Officer at the Refugee Council said:
“When the government announced it would end the detention of children for immigration purposes we hoped there would be no need for more HMIP inspections of family detention facilities. Amongst its praise for the new facility the report reveals the shocking case of ‘substantial force’ used on a pregnant woman, which is completely unacceptable. We know that the arrest and removal of families can cause enormous damage to the wellbeing of children, their parents, and unborn children in this case, and so must stop as a matter of urgency.
“We hope the UK Border Agency heeds the recommendations in the report to make improvements to the process. But the fact remains that holding families at Cedars still involves locking families up and using physical force to remove them. We have repeatedly called for the government to live up to its pledge made in May 2010 that they would end the detention of children. Yet the numbers of children in detention are increasing. The government acknowledged then how harmful this practice is for children, so why are they still continuing to do it?”
The inspection report can be found at the link below: