End Child Detention has been exchanging letters with Gordon Brown on the appalling and inhumane practice of placing asylum seeking families in detention centres – a practice that has drawn enormous criticism from the prisons inspectorate, the UN, judges, paediatricians, lawyers and NGOs. The correspondence doesn’t inspire optimism that anything will change when his facts aren’t even right. Take this exchange, for instance:
GB ‘in a limited number of cases, detention does prove necessary.’
ECD ‘We disagree that the 1,300 children held in detention centres during the 15 month period between July 2008 and September 2009 amount to ‘a limited number of cases’.’
GB ‘the majority of families with children spend just a few days in detention’
ECD: ‘The average length of stay in Yarl’s Wood IRC has actually doubled from 8–16 days, according to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons and Home Office Minister Meg Hillier. HMCIP found that at least a third of child inmates are detained for more than a month.In a recently published briefing note based on a response to a Parliamentary Question, the Immigration Law Practitioners Association found in each of the years 2004 to 2007 that a number of children had been detained in excess of 100 days.’
The whole exchange can be seen here. Recommended reading.