April 2020

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

Just over 80 now and there is usually capacity for over 400.

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

Yes people are entering. People are kept in an induction wing separate to the main body of people in detention for 14 days on arrival. Each centre in the detention estate takes in new people for 7 days and then the responsibility for new people passes to another centre and those who have recently arrived are kept in self isolation. 

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

The population in the centre decreased - at one point by around 25 people a day. In general it is asylum seekers who have been released when there is no possibility of return to their countries of origin due to cancelled flights. Those seen as 'high harm' (sex offenders or people with convictions for violence) are less likely to have been released. 

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

Posters and flyers and an individual notice of news. There are meetings for representatives of the inmates with staff.

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

Those working with the confirmed case wear PPE - gloves, masks, goggles, aprons. There is not routine testing or wearing of masks.  

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

Enhanced cleaning. Advice to wash hands. 

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

Single occupancy rooms. A separate wing for the person who has the virus. A second separate wing for the 13 people the person who has the virus was in contact with. Reduced contact between people in detention. Use of the gym and IT room restricted to a wing at a time and a deep clean after each wing has used the facilities. People collect their food from the servery one person at a time. People cannot casually present themselves to the Welfare Officers. 

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

Use of Skype. 

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 visitors are permitted at the Centre. As visitor group support has moved to phone only, the Centre have agreed to carry out a leaflet drop to every room in the Centre emphasising the support of the local visitor's group.

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

Those who were seen as vulnerable were offered the option of being moved to a separate wing.

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?

Not known.

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

Cases are being referred to legal firms on a case by case basis tackling danger of continued detention due to health concerns such as chronic asthma, delays to addresses being allocated by the Home Office, systemic problems with Probation.