Man kills himself in wake of riot

    An asylum seeker has committed suicide after being moved to a
    detention centre in Scotland from a London removal centre following
    riots there last week.

    A Home Office spokesperson confirmed that a 23-year-old Vietnamese
    male had been found in an accommodation unit at Dungavel Detention
    Centre and was later pronounced dead. The case will now be
    investigated by the police and the prisons and probation
    ombudsman.

    Around 440 detainees were transferred from Harmondsworth
    Immigration Removal Centre, west London, to prisons and other
    centres after a riot broke out when a man was found hanged in his
    cell. Seventeen people have been arrested in connection with the
    disturbance.

    “It’s an inevitable outcome of locking men, women and children up
    without an accusation of crime indefinitely,” said Emma Ginn, of
    Campaigns to Stop Arbitrary Detentions at Yarl’s Wood.

    The Home Office predicted that Harmondsworth would be closed for
    “weeks rather than months”.

    Sarah Cutler, policy and research officer at Bail for Immigration
    Detainees, said she was concerned about those detainees held in
    prisons not having access to advice and lawyers.

    Following news of the second death, she added: “Our experience is
    that people with mental health problems or with a history of
    self-harm and attempted suicide are often detained regardless and
    this is not acceptable at all.”

    Anne Owers, chief inspector of prisons, slammed Harmondsworth last
    year as “essentially an unsafe place for both staff and
    detainees”.

    This week, the suitability of immigration removal centres was
    questioned further as Owers published inspection reports into
    Haslar and Dover IRCs.

    Despite some improvements, Owers said there remained some
    “significant failings” at Haslar IRC in Gosport and that much of
    the accommodation was “simply unacceptable”. Staff training in
    suicide prevention was not up to date.

    Owers praised the way Dover had made its transition from a young
    offender institution to a removal centre, but criticised the use of
    strip conditions in the care and segregation unit. She pointed out,
    however, that this practice had ceased during the inspection.

    – Reports from www.homeoffice.gov.uk/justice/prisons/inspprisons 

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