The value and quality of our services in Yarl’s Wood was highlighted in a recent report on an unannounced inspection by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (in partnership with Ofsted and Care Quality Commission).
The most noticeable change, in broad terms, was that whereas in 2015 there had been large numbers of detainees showing evident signs of distress, on this occasion the atmosphere across the centre was far calmer, respectful and relaxed. This could in part be ascribed to a number of initiatives that had been introduced to improve communication and support, including a post room, where women could
collect and send faxes, regular immigration surgeries and the good work of both Kaleidoscope in
mental health and Hibiscus in resettlement.
In terms of preparation for removal from the UK or release, access to phones was good, arrangements for visits generally good, and the Hibiscus resettlement project offered valuable support, particularly in some complex cases.
About 120 detainees a month were signposted to the Hibiscus Initiatives returns and resettlement project which provided basic advice and guidance and information about destination countries, liaised with case workers and developed a resettlement plan with detainees which included looking at access to funds, location of property and availability of support networks in the destination country. Some examples of more complex support included using couriers to collect property, and securing emergency accommodation in Jamaica for a detainee for three months. Financial assistance was provided for some detainees to ensure they were able to reach their final destination safely.