The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to immigration detention sites in the United Kingdom from 27 March to 6 April 2023. 

Medical Justice welcomes the CPT’s visit. It is particularly timely given the mounting evidence of the severe harm that detention is causing and the simultaneous plans from the government to increase the detention estate – the Illegal Migration Bill calls for an exponential expansion. 

The aim of the CPT’s visit was to examine the treatment and conditions of detention of people held under immigration powers, both in immigration removal centres and prisons. The CPT delegation also examined the effectiveness of the safeguarding procedures in place for vulnerable persons deprived of their liberty in immigration removal centres (IRCs). 

The CPT visited: 

  • Brook House IRC 
  • Colnbrook IRC 
  • Colnbrook Short-Term Holding Facility 
  • Derwentside IRC 
  • Harmondsworth IRC 
  • Pentonville Prison, London
  • Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London 

Medical Justice fed into the CPT’s visit by submitting written comments and meeting with the CPT delegation in person. We highlighted: 

  • The profound harm that immigration detention inflicts on people 
  • The limitations on effective treatment that can be provided in immigration detention settings 
  • The systemic defects in detention and clinical safeguards 
  • The misuse of force 
  • The inappropriate use of segregation 
  • The criminalisation of people, institutional culture of dehumanisation and racism  
  • The culture of disbelief 
  • The lack of accountability and oversight, and a culture of impunity
  • The government’s plans to expand detention and the proposed powers in the Illegal Migration Bill.  

For more information of the CPT’s visit, see here. 

To read Medical Justice’s submission, see here