Child detainees at Tinsley House immigration removal centre are being held for too long without welfare assessments, the chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers (pictured) has said.
Ninety-nine children were held for more than the intended limit of 72 hours, said an inspection report published yesterday. The Gatwick centre also remained poorly equipped to deal with the “damaging effects” of detention.
No care plans
Children held beyond seven days did not have a care plan based on a comprehensive independent welfare assessment, and at the time of the inspection in March, assessments had been only carried out on three children who had been detained for 28 days.
The same children, aged 12, six and three, had previously been held at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre for more than 28 days, the report said.
Inspectors also found a lack of care planning, no formal links with local children’s safeguarding arrangements, and not all staff had received child protection training, despite improvements in the system at the centre, run by GSL.
Single women were also “isolated and marginalised” and detainees lacked sufficient activity and healthcare.
The inspection follows previous critical reports about the welfare of child detainees at Tinsley House and Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre.
Anne Owers, chief inspector of prisons, said the situation at Tinsley House “cannot be allowed to continue” and called for families and single women to be detained only in exceptional circumstances.