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Submission to the APPG on Immigration Detention Inquiry into ‘Quasi-Detention'

Kamena Dorling

The Helen Bamber Foundation has considerable experience of the impact of immigration detention on asylum seeking populations and survivors of human trafficking. We have also conducted clinical work in relation to Penally and Napier Barracks and engaged with the Home Office and others at a policy level about both Barracks since they started being used as asylum accommodation in September 2020. In the High Court case of NB and others v the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with Liberty and JWCI intervening [2021] EWHC 1489 (Admin) on Napier Barracks Linden J accepted HBF’s evidence.

This submission to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Immigration Detention focuses on the use of the Barracks as contingency accommodation and looks at:

  • The key features of the site that generate concern, and how these features impact on residents, with regard in particular to their mental health
  • The ability of residents to access specialist support
  • The ability of residents to exercise their right to claim asylum
  • Existing mechanisms to identify and safeguard vulnerable people, and whether these are adequate

We recommend that the Government should immediately end the use of military barracks as asylum accommodation and move people out of Napier Barracks into safe and suitable housing in the community. 

From the moment a person claims asylum, risk and needs assessment and identification frameworks should be in place to promote recovery. For the process to meet the mental health needs of those seeking asylum, they should be housed in accommodation in the community that is safe, appropriate, inclusive and allows access to specialist community services, advice and social-cultural and educational activities. All those placed in asylum accommodation should be able to access legal advice and recovery services.

A formal, independent inspection regime for asylum accommodation should also be introduced in order to monitor the quality and effectiveness of support provided and improve transparency and accountability.