Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Cheapskates, Petty And Vidictive...

...Or Something More Sinister?

It seems that the latest penny-pinching exercise by Serco, the multinational outsourcing company making billions out of governments outsourcing their 'criminal justice services' such a prisons, immigration detention centres and escort services, involves restricting the number of pages of documents immigration detainees in Yarl's Wood are allowed to fax for legal purposes to fifteen. Amazingly this has been been condoned by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB).

The net result of this policy is to severely restrict last minute appeals against deportation as the High Court will not be able to access all the relevant documents in sufficient time to make a judgement and thus the deportation will be carried out without the detainee's full access to all forms of judicial oversight. That Serco blame the detainees themselves for sending too many legal documents, dressed up in terms of protecting the rights of other detainees of course, just adds insult to injury.*

Now, given Serco's well known policy of cutting as many corners as possible in order to maximise their profit margins, this might seem like a mere penny-pinching exercise. However, when one considers the massive amount of adverse publicity surrounding the recent hunger strike that the firm has garnered, a PR disaster that could well be repeated when the court case brought by some of the women reaches trial and, as seems certain, the hunger strike is renewed in the near future, the exercise appears to be one of vengeance-seeking rather than one of monetary gain.

You can fax Serco at Yarl's Wood on 01234 82 1152 yourself, requesting they immediately lift the restriction and add more fax machines. Or write to the IMB for Yarl's Wood and ask them why they are not doing more to protect the legal rights of the detainees:

Independent Monitoring Board
Twin Wood Road
MK41 6BL

* The argument that detainees sending "100-200 pages, which as you can imagine is both time consuming for staff and also takes up the fax machine for an unreasonable amount of time, thus restricting access for other residents" is totally disingenuous. Maybe they should have more fax lines, these are an essential for of communication for any organisation supposedly involved in the criminal justice industry, or employ more staff?

No comments: