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Michael Henson-Webb, Head of Legal at Mind, said:
“We are pleased to see that the Joint Committee on Human Rights clearly call for urgent and radical changes to the immigration detention processes in its report. We particularly welcome the call to end indefinite detention, an inhumane process that can cause a huge amount of distress and uncertainty. Scrapping indefinite detentions is likely to lessen mental health problems among vulnerable migrants, but our ultimate aim is for the Government to find an alternative to detaining them for any length of time. Refugees and asylum seekers already face a number of challenges, such as fear of deportation and persecution, separation from family and friends, and language and cultural barriers – all of which can contribute to poor mental health.
“It’s good to see the committee draw attention to the fact that, at the moment, people entering places of detention are not routinely assessed for pre-existing mental health problems, let alone offered support for them. As a contributor to the report, Mind made clear the need to see everyone who is in detention treated with basic human decency, and those with a self-declared condition to be provided with the care they need. In line with the rights of people detained under the Mental Health Act, we also called for two clinically trained staff to regularly assess whether a person’s mental health problem can be managed while in detention, and whether it is being adequately managed.
“People detained in immigration centres are some of the most vulnerable in society, and Government institutions should be doing all they can to respect their rights as individuals. We are glad that today’s report highlights some of the areas in desperate need of reform and hope that the Government acts urgently to implement the much-needed changes highlighted in the report.”