Owers criticises ‘damaging’ detentions of children

Chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers has made her second attack on the detention of children in immigration removal centres within a week, with a report on Tinsley House, Gatwick.

Ninety-nine children were held for more than the intended limit of 72 hours from April 2007-March 2008, while the centre also remained poorly equipped to deal with the “damaging effects” of detention, her report last week said.

It followed a review into conditions at Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire, which found that children with learning disabilities had been detained.

Children were also held for too long, to the detriment of their health and behaviour problems (www.communitycare.co.uk/109189).

Children held beyond seven days at Tinsley House 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 over 28 days.

Inspectors also found a lack of care planning, no formal links with local children’s safeguarding arrangements, and that not all staff had received child protection training, despite improvements at the centre, run by GSL.

➔ Full story from www.communitycare.co.uk/109231 and report from www.communitycare.co.uk/tinsley

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