In December 2022, the government laid secondary legislation creating a new category of Short-term Holding Facility (STHF), designed specifically for the notorious site at Manston. The new category is known as a “Residential Holding Room” (RHR).
In early January 2023, along a number of other charities Medical Justice submitted evidence to a Committee in the Lords tasked with scrutinising the legislation in early January 2023. We highlighted grave concerns about the legislation, including how it allows safeguards and standards at sites designated as RHRs like Manston to be dramatically downgraded, whilst also quadrupling the length of time – from 24 to 96 hours – that the Home Office can hold people there.
The Committee issued a report on the legislation in late January which is very critical of the government. It picks many of the points we raised, before concluding that the Committee is “left with the strong impression that the new category [of STHF] is designed for the operational convenience of the Home Office, rather than for good reasons of public policy”.