Freed Voices respond to new HMIP report on Colnbrook

July 29, 2016

Yesterday saw the release of the latest HMIP report on Colnbrook detention centre, which currently detains up to 396 people at any one time.

Among the report’s many findings – (Detention Forum have done a break-down of the key points) – perhaps the most pertinent was the fact that, out of the 322 people in custody at the time of inspection, 32 had been there between six and 12 months; 20 between one and two years and three people for more than two years.  One person had been continuously detained for four years and eight months, whose case ‘had been exacerbated by casework inefficiencies and administrative delays’.

Reaffirming the breadth of actors and parties calling for an end to indefinite detention, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons again made the following recommendation: ‘There should be a strict time limit on the length of detention and caseworkers should act with diligence and expedition.’

Responding to the report, and its recommendation, the Freed Voices group had this to say:

“We have lost over 20 years to detention, and many of them to Colnbrook. So we welcome this latest HMIP report and its call for a time-limit, just like we welcome all other calls for an end to indefinite detention.

But how full is the drawer of reports demanding a time-limit on detention now?  

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The UN Human Rights Committee, the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, the UN Committee Against Torture, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the cross-party Parliamentary Inquiry report on Detention, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, the Independent Monitoring Board, the Labour, Lib Dems, Greens and SNP parties, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Taxpayers Alliance, hundreds of national and international NGOs and policy experts, leaders of religious communities, and experts-by-experience all over the UK – what do they all have in common?

They have all called for an end to indefinite detention in the UK.

The government stands alone on this issue. They are out of touch with both popular and expert opinion. But we are not going anywhere. We will continue to fight. We want more than reports – we want radical change.” 

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