It has been confirmed that a 51-year old tragically died in Harmondsworth on Sunday. This now brings the total number of known deaths in the UK detention estate to 4 in 2018. Sarah Teather, Director of JRS UK said, “We are deeply saddened to hear of another death in Harmondsworth this past weekend. Our thoughts and prayers are with the young man’s family and friends who will be understandably deeply distressed by this news.”
Beatrice Grasso, JRS UK Detention Outreach Manager said, “Our thoughts and prayers are also with those in detention as they adapt to yet another tragic death. When I was visiting Harmondsworth this week, it was clear that the news had deeply affected everyone there. A number of people came to see JRS this week to speak of their distress and upset about the death of their fellow detainee, as well as a failed suicide attempt of another person in the past week. This aggravates already high levels of stress and anxiety.
“This is not the first death in detention this year, and I fear it will not be the last time something like this happens. It is a testament to the detrimental effects on both physical and mental health that indefinite detention innately causes, often compounding existing vulnerabilities and corroding an individual’s dignity.
“Whilst some people are held in detention for a short period, others can be detained for protracted periods before ultimately being released back into the community. The trauma of detention coupled with the anxiety induced by this uncertainty have a damaging effect on the physical and mental health of those who are put through it.”
The UK is the only country in Europe that does not set a time limit on detention. In 2017, the longest recorded length that someone had been held in the detention estate was 1845 days, that’s over 5 years.
Beatrice Grasso, JRS UK Detention Outreach Manager continued, “It is time to end the structural injustice of immigration detention, the negative effects of which last long after a person has been released. It’s Time for a Time Limit.”