Hassockfield Secure Training Centre

Home Office written question – answered on 25th March 2021.

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Photo of Mary Foy Mary Foy Labour, City of Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what public consultation has been undertaken prior to the commencement of plans to re-open the former Hassockfield Detention Centre in Medomsley as an Immigration Detention Centre; and what plans she has to hold a further public consultation before the planned opening of that centre in Autumn 2021.

Photo of Mary Foy Mary Foy Labour, City of Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions were held with (a) Durham County Council, (b) local councillors and (c) other local stakeholders before plans were progressed to redevelop the former Hassockfield Detention Centre in Medomsley as an immigration removal centre; and what plans there are for discussions with each of those bodies before its planned opening in autumn 2021.

Photo of Mary Foy Mary Foy Labour, City of Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether, before the commencement of plans to redevelop the former Hassockfield Detention Centre in Medomsley as an immigration removal centre, the Government consulted with (a) victims of historic abuse (b) other inmates at the Hassockfield Detention Centre.

Photo of Mary Foy Mary Foy Labour, City of Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions her Department has had with (a) the Refugee Council, (b) local refugee support groups and (c) advocacy organisations prior to the commencement of plans to re-open the former Hassockfield Detention Centre in Medomsley as an Immigration Detention or Removal Centre; and whether alternatives to the incarceration of women who seek refuge in the UK have been assessed.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Home Office has acquired the former Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham and will open it as an immigration removal centre by the autumn.

Initial discussions with Durham County Council have taken place and will continue throughout the development of plans for the site. Consultations with local councillors, other local stakeholders and interested non-governmental organisations including the Refugee Council, will take place over the coming months.

The former Medomsley Detention Centre was demolished and rebuilt in 1988. Whilst I have every sympathy for victims of historic abuse at the former centre, officials do not have plans to undertake any consultation on the future immigration removal centre.

Now in its second year, the Action Access pilot has provided women who would otherwise be detained with a programme of support in the community, including case management support. We are working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and they have appointed the National Centre for Social Research to independently evaluate this work, once the pilot concludes in March 2021. The evaluation is scheduled for publication in June 2021. We will use the evaluation to inform our future approach to case-management focused alternatives to detention.

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