Child detention: has the government broken its promise to end it?


A lot of care has been paid to the interior decoration of the new centre designed to hold families facing deportation from this country. Each of the nine apartments is named after a flower – lavender, iris, orchid – and pictures of these flowers are painted on the doors to the flats. The centre has an indoor play area for young children, decorated with animal murals, and a recreation area for teenagers, with a pool table. There’s a computer zone, a mosque and a non-denominational prayer area, as well as family-friendly communal kitchens. Outside there is a mini-adventure playground and extensive gardens.

There are also two boundary fences that make it impossible for residents to leave the premises unsupervised, and the centre is staffed by workers from the security firm G4S, paid by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Guests are brought here by escorts, after being arrested at their homes. Belongings are x-rayed, and adults are taken aside to be searched on arrival. The pretty, white-gabled building will be inspected by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons.

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