Immigration Removal Centres: Restraint

House of Lords written question – answered on 26th February 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Stern Baroness Stern Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have taken about the use of restraints at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre in the light of the report by the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons that two elderly men were handcuffed in “an excessive and unacceptable manner”, one of whom died shortly after the removal of handcuffs and the other, an 84-year-old who had been declared unfit for detention, died whilst still handcuffed.

Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Unnecessary use of restraints is unacceptable. Following these incidents an investigation was carried out and a number of changes have been made to ensure proper risk assessments are carried out (by contractors) in a timely way. Firm instructions have been issued making clear that restraint should only happen where absolutely necessary.

In the case of the 84 year old man, the use of restraint was completely unjustified and such action must not be repeated in similar circumstances. The independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman is investigating the circumstances of the death. The Home Office will carefully consider the findings of the Ombudsman's report.

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