Today, the Home Office has announced that Campsfield House immigration removal centre will close by May 2019, when the current management contract with Mitie Care and Custody ends.
The closure of the 282 bed centre is part of Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s commitment to cut the number of people detained at any given time and improve the welfare of detainees. These reforms were announced in response to Stephen Shaw’s review into welfare of vulnerable people in detention.
By next summer, the Home Office will aim to reduce the immigration detention estate by almost 40% since 2015.
Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes said:
I am grateful to all the staff who’ve worked at Campsfield over the years for their commitment and professionalism.
Now is the right time to modernise and rationalise the detention estate. We are committed to ensuring we have a fair and humane immigration system that provides control, and detention must only be used when we are confident no other approaches will work.
In response to Stephen Shaw’s second review of the government’s approach to vulnerable people in immigration detention, the Home Office committed to working with charities, faith groups, communities and other stakeholders to develop alternatives to detention, strengthening support for vulnerable detainees and increasing transparency.
In addition, reforms have already led to a reduction in the number of occupants per room, and will improve facilities in immigration removal centres, including piloting the use of Skype and reviewing the training and support for staff in immigration removal centres.
In 2015, Centres in Dover and Haslar closed and the Verne Immigration Removal Centre in Dorset closed in January 2018. There are no current plans for further immigration removal centre closures. However, as the Home Office progresses with reforms outlined in the response to Stephen Shaw’s second review, the use of immigration detention and the implications for the detention estate as a whole, will be kept under review.