A TORTURE victim was detained at a G4S-run immigration centre for almost a year despite serious concerns he would take his own life, inspectors have warned.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) made dozens of visits to Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre outside Gatwick airport last year.
In its annual report the board has now revealed that one detainee was described by G4S staff as “shaking, communicating with voices and saying he will take his own life.”
The man, who was not named, was detained by the Home Office in January 2018.
The department accepted that he was a victim of torture and posed a risk to himself.
But it decided to keep him incarcerated at Tinsley House for the next 11 months, despite its own guidance which says torture survivors should not normally be detained.
The board warned that the man’s mental health would have been “negatively impacted by continuing detention.”
He was repeatedly placed on suicide watch and was even “found with a ligature.”
Senior managers at Tinsley House regularly reviewed his case but decided against releasing him.
The board criticised the government over the handling of this man’s case and others like it.
The inspectors said: “Given that the aim of the new Home Office guidance is to ‘lead to a reduction in the number of vulnerable people detained’ and to ‘ensure that vulnerable people are not detained inappropriately,’ it is difficult at present from a monitoring perspective to understand how the guidance is being understood and applied.”
Tinsley House can hold up to 162 adult male detainees and one family with children.
Security and healthcare at the centre is provided by G4S while the Home Office and courts decide who is detained.
Commenting on the report, charity Medical Justice told the Morning Star: “Medical Justice sends independent volunteer doctors to see hundreds of immigration detainees in immigration removal centres around the UK each year, including Tinsley House, and like the IMB have seen very sick and suicidal detainees inappropriately detained.
“Medical Justice has submitted medico-legal reports documenting detainees’ deteriorating mental health, warning how suicidal individuals are, recommending they be released from detention immediately. Our recommendations are largely ignored.”
The group’s director, Emma Ginn, added: “Some cases of continued detention of suicidal detainees have ended in death. These tragic accounts are seen in one inquest after another, highlighting repeated systemic failures.
“These failures often including the failure to communicate between the private company running the immigration removal centre, the company proving the healthcare, and the Home Office.
“One recent inquest uncovered that staff in the immigration removal centre are trained not implement one policy that exists to identify suicidal detainees.
“The number of deaths and near-miss scenarios, coupled with evidence of continued failures between the immigration removal centres and the Home Office leads us to fear more sever harm to detainees.
“Immigration removal centres should be closed before another detainee dies.”