Very sad news has emerged today of a death at Colnbrook IRC. We understand that the exact circumstances of the death are still unconfirmed. All our thoughts are with the deceased’s friends and family, as well as with all those who remain unjustly incarcerated without time-limit.
Yet another reminder of the potentially lethal impact of indefinite detention, this latest tragedy is the twenty-fifth death in immigration detention in the UK. It comes fresh in the wake of the Shaw Review of welfare in detention and its damning critique of the crisis of harm prevalent across the UK’s detention estate. Amongst its conclusions, the report found that “detention in and of itself undermines welfare and contributes to vulnerability”.
In response to the Shaw Review, the Minister of Immigration, James Brokenshire, promised “significant and transformative reform”. That is clearly not happening fast enough. The evidence in favour of radical change is mountainous and irrefutable: detention destroys lives, devastates families, and ruptures communities. The Parliamentary Inquiry into Detention has already gifted the Government a blueprint for change. There is no time to lose. These proposals should be implemented as soon as possible.
In reaction to today’s news, Freed Voices said: “It is maybe a strange thing to say but this is not really surprising to anyone who has experienced indefinite detention first-hand. Detention kills your mind, it kills your soul…and sometimes it just kills. How many more people have to have their lives destroyed before we see real change?”