Sarah Teather MP has welcomed the independent review of the welfare of individuals held in immigration detention centres, but warned that the problems that exist in immigration removal centres cannot be solved without looking at who we hold in detention and the impact of holding detainees indefinitely. The Guardian have reported that the review will look into whether “improvements can be made to safeguard the health and wellbeing of detainees held in immigration removal centres and short-term holding facilities, as well as those being escorted in the UK”.
The Cathoilc MP is currently chairing a panel of backbench parliamentarians looking into the use of immigration detainees, which has received evidence directly from current and former detainees, as well as psychiatrists, lawyers and the Independent Inspector of Prisons. The panel are due to publish their report next month.
Commenting on the announcement, Sarah Teather said: “I welcome the news that the Government will hold an independent review of immigration detention, but it must look at who we hold in detention and the impact on detainees of detaining them without a time-limit. The UK detains very high numbers of people and is the only country in the EU not to have a time-limit on detention. During the inquiry I am currently chairing, the panel heard extremely powerful evidence of damage extended periods of detention can have on mental health.
“I await the publishing of the terms of reference of the review with interest. However, I fear that unless the review looks into the reasons why people are detained and how long they are detained for, the question of how to improve the welfare of detainees will not be fully answered.
"We can't solve this problem just by improving the pastoral care available to those in detention centres."
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