‘Very positive’ HMIP report is NOT a reason to double the size of Campsfield


The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, said overall this report[1] was a ‘very positive’ inspection. The report makes 84 recommendations for necessary improvements to meet an acceptable standard. ‘How inadequate does a detention centre regime have to be to qualify as inadequate or poor?’ asks Close Campsfield Campaign spokesperson Bill MacKeith.

Overall, the report reveals a catalogue of errors and inadequacies[2], prominent among which are inadequate health facilities, overcrowding and the detention (against government ‘guidelines’) of sick people and victims of torture, the Home Office riding roughshod over doctors’ ‘Rule 35’ health screening recommendations that detained individuals should be released.


It is of course a scandal that any children are being detained anywhere under immigration law, and the HMIP reports on three such instances in recent times at Campsfield.


What the report does not mention (even though they also occurred since the last inspection of Campsfield in May 2011) are the collective and individual protests[3] of individuals against their unjust imprisonment and treatment at Campsfield, of the attempted suicides and the sadly successful suicide of Ianos Dragutan on 2 August 2011, of the fire in October 2013 set by a detainee who said he had been denied an appointment with a doctor, or the fact that Mitie, a ‘leader in property maintenance’[4] (Mitie website) was happy to take over a detention centre not fitted with fire sprinklers.


Like all HMIP reports, what this one does not do, because the remit of the Prisons Inspectorate excludes it, is to challenge the whole detention regime, based as it is on the unjust policy of imprisoning people not charged with a crime, for an indefinite period, without proper judicial oversight, and with barely any effective access to legal representation.


The average immigration detention time for ‘foreign national prisoners’ who have served a prison sentence and now await deportation is 18 months to 2 years .[5] Such scandalously long immigration detention is NOT a reason to expand detention places. Nor are the latest government figures, which show fewer people are being deported than ever.[6]


The ‘positive’ nature of the Campsfield regime is referred to in the government’s submissions to Cherwell Council[7] in support of their planning appolication to double the size of Campfield. These refer to ‘the need to maintain the current positive atmosphere in Campsfield House as far as possible’ in an enlarged centre. The Government appears to accept that, in an enlarged centre, it is likely that there will be a reduction of standards in some respects. This is precisely the issue referred to by the MP, Nicola Blackwood, and others: a larger centre with two different regimes on the same site will inevitably result in a proportionately higher incidence of serious incidents (protests, disturbances, first etc.).[8]



Contacts: Bill 01865 558145, Liz 07791 738 577, Gill 01993 703994

[1] http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons/inspections/campsfield-house-immigration-removal-centre/#.VNBjoNKsV8E

[2] See today’s comment on the inspection report from CorporateWatch:


[3] Most recently in May 2014, just months before the inspection.

[4] Mitie website: ‘We combine our in-depth knowledge of fire safety and buildings regulations with a detailed understanding of your exact requirements … Our fire protection services are high-quality, competitively-priced, and technologically advanced, and we’re committed to sustainable business practices.’ ‘Your fire prevention and business security systems are part of your building’s life support system; we’ll make sure they keep you safe.’

[5] http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/home-office-not-removing-large-numbers-of-foreign-nationals-with-no-right-to-stay-in-the-uk-despite-securing-travel-documents/

[6] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-july-to-september-2014

[7] CGMS letter to Cherwell Council on behalf of Home Office and Ministry of Justice:

http://npa.cherwell.gov.uk/AnitePublicDocs/07829877.pdf of 19.12.14 to

[8] Submissions by Nicola Blackwood MP


and (paragraph 8 with statistical basis for statement) by Stop Campsfield Expansion:




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