The latest quarterly figure for self harm in the UK immigration detention estate show not only that incidents of self harm requiring medical treatment have increased by 51% compared to the previous quarter, but that Brook House, which opened in March this year, has leapt into the charts at number one with 24% of all reported incidents.
The previous quarter's figures (Jan-Mar) were 41 incidents of self harm, with 369 individuals on Assessment Care in Detention and Teamwork (i.e. formally registered as at risk of self-harming). The figures for April - June were 62 self harm incidents with ACDT figures down 1% at 365! Dover, Harmonsworth and Yarl's Wood were the other IRCs contributing significant percentage increases to the overall figures.
Brook House opened on the 18th March this year and is run by the private security firm Group 4 Securicor (G4S). In its' first full three months of operation there have been an increasing number of incidents, ranging from food distribution problems to staffing problems. The latter is believed to have contributed to the serious disturbance at the IRC on Friday 12th June.
The final spark appears to have been the issuing of removal orders to a number of Iraqi detainees resulting in a group of detainees refusing to be locked down. The handful of Duty Custody Officers on the wing* quickly lost control the incident and left A wing in the control of the detainees who had not already been locked down. In the 11 hours this riot squads retook the wing, the wing office and many of the cells were damaged. Mattresses and bedding were burnt and a large fire set in the exercise yard.
Roits squads regained control at about 9 a.m. Saturday morning but many of those already locked down when the disturbance broke out remained confined to their cells with little more than an apple and a Kitkat, and no medication, till the evening, a period of more than 24 hours. They were finally moved on to other wings and A wing closed for extensive repairs.
* The privately run detention centres are notorious for their low staffing levels and poorly trained and paid staff - after all, these multinational firms have got to make a profit somehow!