24th March 2020 – 27th April 2020

 

Information provided by Paola Petrucco, Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Coalizione Italiana per le Libertà e i Diritti Civili, CILD)

1. How many people are currently detained in the center and what is the centre’s maximum capacity?

On 24 March, the facility, which has a maximum capacity of 96 places, was holding 93 detainees. As of 27 April, the number has only slightly decreased – there are currently 89 people detained in the centre.

2. Are people still entering this detention centre? If so, what are the measures taken to prevent contagion and safeguard their right to health?

According to available sources, the center stopped accepting new detainees on 1 April. Prior to that date, however, it seems that several new entries had occurred. People were brought into the CPR both from prisons and from the street. They were kept in medical isolation only for a few days, contrary to the 14-day quarantine period indicated in the circular note of the Minister of the Interior issued on 26 March 2020. Although there is no information on the specific measures that have been taken in the Turin center, the National Guarantor has reported that most of the CPRs have set up quarantine wards for incomers and ensured a quarantine period of two weeks.

3. Have detainees been released from this centre due to COVID-19? If yes, which groups?

Although there are no precise figures, a number detainees, primarily asylum seekers, have been released from the centre. It appears that, prior to their release, some had to sign a rejection decree, which says that they have to leave Italy within 7 days. No details have been provided on the release procedures adopted by this centre.

4. What information has been provided to detainees in this centre, in which language(s) and through what means?

On 24 March, the Legality Commission of the Municipality of Turin reported that the centre’s information and cultural mediation services had been reduced. One month later, the situation appears to have changed. The National Guarantor’s Bulletin N. 26 indicates that, as stated by CPR managers, detainees have been provided with information, in several of languages, on the status of the health emergency and the appropriate precautionary behaviour to take.

5. What healthcare measures have been taken in response to the virus? Has the number of health workers working inside the center increased?

The city’s Legality Commission also denounced a reduction in the medical assistance services provided in the CPR. According to the National Guarantor, however, “CPRs have [eventually] established a thorough screening procedure and detainees’ health conditions [are] being checked on a regular basis regardless of the specific symptomatology”.

6. What hygiene measures have been taken in response to the virus?

While there is no available information regarding the hygiene measures taken by the CPR manager in Turin, the National Guarantor has provided a general overview on the matter. In his bulletin of 21 April, he affirmed that “almost all the CPRs’ managers declared that they had regularly carried out disinfections to ensure the premises’ hygienic conditions. They all reported having increased the number of personal hygiene kits for all persons detained and making protective masks available to them at release. In addition, they have informed in multiple languages all detainees about the health emergency and instructed hosts on how to behave to prevent the spread of the virus”. On 27 April, however, Alda Re of the LasciateCIEntare campaign contradicted these statements. She claimed that: “personal protective equipment have never been provided, even though we are aware that the State has granted specific fundings for these centres to make up for equipment deficiencies, we are also sure that the areas have never been sanitised”.

7. What measures have been taken to comply with necessary social distancing requirements?

On 24 March, the Legality Commission stressed that there were no adequate social distancing areas in the centre where isolation would be possible – detainees were held in six 50-square foot rooms. In this regard, the National Guarantor has observed that the structures of CPRs, in general, make social spacing impossible. On this aspect, alert remains high.

8. What measures have been taken to ensure that detainees continue to maintain contact with their family and friends in such a difficult time?

Contacts with family and friends has been a rather delicate matter in all the CPRs. Contrary to what occurred in prisons and despite visiting restrictions, the use of mobile phones in immigration removal centres was dramatically limited. On 24 March, Monica Cristina Gallo, Turin’s County Guarantor, had stated: “Yesterday, 100 mobile phones arrived at the Turin prison for communications with family members, nothing was done at the CPR.”. While there have been updates on the phone-situation in other detention centres, not much has been said on the matter from this center.

9. Are NGOs, monitors and/or volunteers continuing to enter in detention and meet detainees? If yes, what measures have been put in place to ensure their health protection? If no, what measures have been put in place to ensure that detainees continue to receive the kind of support they used to receive from these groups?

No information has been provided on the presence of NGOs and volunteers in the center. On the matter, Turin’s Guarantor stressed the necessity of pursuing monitoring activities in the center.    

10. What measures have been taken to protect vulnerable groups (e.g., victims of gender violence and torture; people facing mental health challenges)?

There is no information on the precautionary measures taken to protect vulnerable individuals.   

11. What measures have been taken to protect staff working with detainees? Has there been an increase or decrease in the number of staff since the COVID-19 crisis started?

The Legality Commission also reported that, as of 24 March, the precautionary measures envisaged in the government’s decrees had not been provided for the staff working with the detainees. However, as personal hygiene kits have been distributed to the detainees, it can be assumed that they have most probably been distributed to staff members as well.

12. What kind of legal measures are individuals and/or organisations pursuing in response to COVID?

Since early March, there has been a wide mobilisation of the civil society  all over the country. Both jointly and individually organisations have pursued several actions - these include:

In this framework, legal measures have been based on the of illegitimacy and unreasonableness of immigration detention in the current national and international contexts. Requests to stop entries in CPRs emerged right at the start of the health emergency. Appeals have been submitted to Courts’ specialised departments and Justices of the Peace asking them not confirm nor extend detention orders, as well as to local bar associations urging them to monitor detention hearings and provide public defenders with all the information. Core arguments have been: the impossibility to comply with the measures foreseen to guarantee individuals’ health; the lack of real possibilities of effective repatriation; the suspension of hearings; and the availability of accommodation outside detention. On top of that, calls have been launched to ensure adequate reception protocols, and guarantee detainees’ relations with the outside world.

28th April - 28th May 2020

 

Information provided by Paola Petrucco, Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Coalizione Italiana per le Libertà e i Diritti Civili, CILD)

1. How many people are currently detained in the centre and what is the centre’s maximum capacity?

On 26 May, the CPR, which currently has a maximum capacity of 107 places, was holding 62 people. Throughout the month of May, Turin was the centre with the highest number of detainees.

2. Are people still entering this detention centre? If so, what are the measures taken to prevent contagion and safeguard their right to health?

Since the beginning of April, the centre’s new entries have almost only been limited to transfers from prisons. According to Turin’s Guarantor of the rights of persons detained or deprived of liberty, Monica Cristina Gallo, upon arrival newcomers undergo a medical screening and a 14-day medical isolation period in the infamous Ospedaletto or in other areas of the facility.  

3. Have detainees been released from this centre due to COVID-19? If yes, which groups?

As in all other Italian CPRs, several detainees have been released amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. County Guarantor Gallo indicates that the migrants who have been let go from this centre are only those who have reached their maximum detention period (180 days). She affirms that no particular release or support procedures have been put in place during lockdown and that, surprisingly, orders to leave the national territory within 7 days continue to be issued as they are under regular circumstances. During her visit at the centre on 26 May, she received no explanation on how these people are expected to comply with such orders given the current national and international contexts. 

4. What information has been provided to detainees in this centre, in which language(s) and through what means?

Guarantor Gallo reports that the CPR manager has produced a handbook, on the basis of the information provided by the National Health System, that has been distributed to all the detainees. Moreover, the centre has restored its wire broadcasting system, through which contagion prevention information is repeated twice a day in 5 different languages.  

5. What healthcare measures have been taken in response to the virus? Has the number of health workers working inside the centre increased?

In addition to medical screenings upon arrival, it appears that “detainees’ health conditions [are] being constantly checked regardless of […] specific symptomatology” (National Guarantor, Bulletin N. 26). No further information has been disclosed. 

6. What hygiene measures have been taken in response to the virus?

In accordance with the County Guarantor’s report, the centre’s areas are sanitised on a daily basis and the supply of personal hygiene products has been increased. Furthermore, at the end of April, the CPR manager began distributing washable cotton masks to detainees.    

7. What measures have been taken to comply with necessary social distancing requirements?

Compliance with social distancing requirements remains a challenge given the overall structure of the centre.

8. What measures have been taken to ensure that detainees continue to maintain contact with their family and friends in such a difficult time?

Detainees have been able to contact friends and family only through the facility’s communal phones and through letters sent by regular mail. Guarantor Gallo informs us that the use of mobile phones in the centre is still not permitted. 

9. Are NGOs, monitors and/or volunteers continuing to enter in detention and meet detainees? If yes, what measures have been put in place to ensure their health protection? If no, what measures have been put in place to ensure that detainees continue to receive the kind of support they used to receive from these groups?

As reported by the County Guarantor, the only face-to-face visits that have been allowed in the centre are those from lawyers. Legal advisors and psychologists, instead, have been in contact with detainees only from remote. To facilitate communication with these actors, the CPR Manager has set up a state-of-the-art system on the facility’s ground floor, which has also been used for validation hearings. 

10. What measures have been taken to protect vulnerable groups (e.g., victims of gender violence and torture; people facing mental health challenges)?

“The spokespersons of the CPR Manager, the Immigration Office and the Prefecture claim that there have been no particular cases involving vulnerable individuals. They have, however, intensified psychological counselling sessions for “a couple of detainees”, who were most disoriented and frightened by the health emergency”, Guarantor Gallo says. 

11. What measures have been taken to protect staff working with detainees? Has there been an increase or decrease in the number of staff since the COVID-19 crisis started?

The Guarantor affirms that the centre’s staff has been provided with the usual personal protective equipment, namely masks and gloves. No information, however, has been disclosed on increases or decreases in the number of staff since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

12. What kind of legal measures are individuals and/or organisations pursuing in response to COVID?

Since early March, there has been a wide mobilisation of the civil society all over the country. Both jointly and individually organisations have pursued several actions, which include:

In addition, appeals have been submitted to Courts’ specialised departments and Justices of the Peace asking them not confirm nor extend detention orders, local bar associations urging them to monitor detention hearings and provide public defenders with all necessary information, and CPR managers requesting them to allow detainees’ access to of cell-phones. Core arguments of these (and other) actions have been the illegitimacy and unreasonableness of immigration detention in the current national and international contexts; the impossibility to comply with the contagion prevention measures (e.g. social distancing) in these centres; and the necessity to guarantee detainees’ right to respect for private and family life.