Responding to the release today of an inspection into conditions at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre by the new Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke, Sarah Teather, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service UK said:
“Peter Clarke is the second Chief Inspector of Prisons to draw attention to the unacceptably long periods in which people are warehoused in detention and to call for a time limit. The conditions he describes bring shame on the Government, but cleaning up is not enough. The problem is that Britain detains far too many people for far too long. They should invest in alternatives to detention, not new shower blocks.
“JRS has long had a ministry to visit those held in detention at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook and our teams meet many whose mental and physical health is wrecked by the experience of indefinite detention. It is heartening to read in the report that visitors like ours bring some relief to people in this situation, but we long for the day when our ministry will no longer be needed and when all are treated with more dignity and respect.”