Migrant Centre Branded ‘Inhumane’ Because Of It’s Remote Location & Poor Mobile Phone Signal

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A UK prison watchdog has slammed a migrant detention centre as “inhumane” because of its remote location, poor mobile phone signal and slow Wi-Fi.

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) also blasted the immigration removal centre set in the countryside at County Durham, because it did not have a hair salon, shop, cultural kitchen and a private GP visits only twice a week.

The watchdog even went on to criticize the women-only facility because it was a long drive from the south east, a journey that could leave the illegal migrants “tired, disorientated or stressed”.

The Telegraph reports: The watchdog advised the Home Office to “reconsider its suitability” despite admitting the accommodation is good. Staff at the centre outnumber migrants almost six to one. Last year, there were 97 workers looking after 17 migrants

“We consider that the location of Derwentside, plus the inadequate communications infrastructure, is unsuitable and leads to treatment of detained women that is in some respects inhumane,” said the IMB.

“Added to the difficulty with the physical location is the unreliable mobile phone reception, a problem that we have raised with the contractor and the Home Office from when the centre first opened, and which has not yet been resolved.

‘Difficult to maintain family life’

“It is difficult for women to maintain their family life while in detention at Derwentside, and we consider that these problems with family contact are another example of the unacceptable and unequal treatment that women in detention receive in comparison with detained men.”

It advised detainees should be supplied with iPads to help them overcome translation issues and make friends. But it said: “A practical obstacle to this is that the Wi-Fi signal in the residential units is not adequate to support the functioning of these tablets.”

The IMB went on to say that “once they arrive at Derwentside women are treated with respect and kindness by staff.” It added: “The accommodation is in good condition and is kept clean and tidy.”

Another complaint was that a GP supplied by private healthcare company Spectrum visits only twice a week, but nursing staff are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It also complained that a salon and shop had not yet opened at the facility which has a capacity of 84 detainees, and cost £18.7 million to build. It opened in November 2021.

The centre is run by private firm Mitie on behalf of the Home Office at a cost of £100,000 a year for each detainee.

A Home Office source said: “This is a modern, comfortable facility for housing individuals who should not be in this country and are awaiting deportation. The strength of the mobile signal and the quality of the internet are not high priorities.”

Niamh Harris
About Niamh Harris 14989 Articles
I am an alternative health practitioner interested in helping others reach their maximum potential.