Oxford

Campsfield House immigration detention centre detainees 'felt unsafe'

Campsfield House Image copyright Google
Image caption Inspectors made an unannounced visit to the facility in September

The final inspection of an immigration detention centre in Oxfordshire before it closed found that 41% of its detainees felt unsafe.

In September the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons made an unannounced visit to Campsfield House in Kidlington.

He also criticised the damp and deteriorating conditions, but described his overall report as positive.

The Home Office did not renew its contract for the 257-capacity facility, and it closed in December.

In his report, Peter Clarke said the reasons for detainees feeling unsafe were unclear and needed further investigation.

In the previous inspection in 2014, 19% had reported feeling unsafe.

While there had been 14 assaults in the previous six months, including two assaults on staff, the report described this as a "relatively low number".

On conditions at the site, Mr Clarke wrote: "Many rooms were cramped and standards of cleanliness were variable.

"Many required redecoration and were blighted by damp and peeling paint. Rooms were inadequately furnished, with a lack of tables and chairs."

But he wrote that there was a "calm and relaxed atmosphere" and "little evidence of violence".

Image copyright HM Inspectorate of Prisons
Image caption Many rooms were blighted by damp and peeling paint, the report said

Of the 1,809 detainees moved during the previous six months, 25% had been removed from the UK, 45% released into the community and the rest moved to another centre.

The report found that 80% of detainees thought most staff were respectful.

The average length of detention was 55 days, but some were held for "excessive periods, with the longest detention at one year, five months".

Originally a young offender institution, Campsfield became an immigration centre in 1993.

The Home Office said it was in discussions about its future, but would not confirm where the detainees had gone.

It was managed by Mitie Care and Custody for the government.

A spokesperson for Mitie could not be reached for comment.

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