Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Men with a history of sexual violence mixed with women in detention center

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Female inmates were forced to mingle with men with a history of sexual violence against women at an immigration center due to Covid restrictions, a report said.

Concerns were raised about the Dungavel Immigration Removal Center in Lanarkshire after inspectors found women had to be escorted through the premises to ensure they were safe from some of the male prisoners.

According to the report, these men were held in a separate unit with controlled access to common parts of the center prior to the pandemic.

But due to Covid “contagion protection regulations” this was no longer considered possible and women had to be accompanied on site.

Charlie Taylor, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, wrote a recommendation to the Home Office: “Prisoners who pose a risk to women should not be held in a mixed-population center.”

The report said the center’s safer detention guidelines for caring for women have improved compared to the last inspection in 2018.

However, the most recent report showed that the matter was “not substantially discussed” except that the center detained men who posed a risk to women and that the monthly meeting for safer detention was “poorly attended”.

In the six months prior to the inspection, 21 women had been detained and 44% of the frontline personnel were women.

The inspectors said the gender equality policy was “underdeveloped” and there was no female liaison officer for detainees.

The report also found that detainees in Dungavel had been held for extended periods “with little prospect of deportation within a reasonable time”.

It referred to a man who had been detained for almost a year despite his lack of travel documents and “very restricted” flights to his home country.

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