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Week 3 of #Unlocked16: Brook House and Tinsley House

Week 3 of Unlocking Detention was all about Brook and Tinsley Houses.    Together they make up the Gatwick site of detention, situated roughly 200 metres from the main runway at Gatwick Airport.

Brook House was opened in 2009 and is built to the standards of a Category B prison.  One year after opening,  the independent inspectorate that reports on the treatment and conditions for those in prison and other types of custody in England and Wales (HMIP) branded it “unsafe”and said, “Brook House was significantly compounded by poor design, which built in boredom”.

Tinsley House was opened in May 1996, the first ever purpose-built detention centre in the UK.  It’s the smallest detention centre in the UK, although there is sizeable expansion of an extra 100 bed spaces planned at Brook/Tinsley Houses.

We held another live Q and A this week – this week the interview was with Jon detained in Brook House.  Jon has been detained there for 18 months and counting. 

As Scottish Detainee Visitors said, these interviews offer “vivid insights into life in detention. They’re invaluable.”

Read the interview here

Blog posts and articles

It’s been a bumper week of Unlocked blog posts and articles!

First up, we had an incredible piece by Ajay.  This year, Unlocking Detention is particularly focusing on the impact of detention on an individual’s immediate social circle – their friends and family.  This piece by Ajay is the first of several on this theme from members of the Freed Voices group.

When he was asked how detention had impacted those around him Ajay said that ‘there was no one around me. There was only me…or who I used to be, anyway.’ And so, for this article, Ajay penned a letter to his former self – the one he knew before he was detained in Brook House detention centre.

Read Ajay’s letter here

Next up was a personal and engaging piece by James Wilson, director of  Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group, who wrote about the hidden, human reality of indefinite detention.

Read James’ blog post here

We also heard from Lisa from Right to Remain, on the reaction of incredulity, anger and bewilderment when the public find out about immigration detention at the Unlocking Detention awareness-raising sessions she’s been running across the country.

Read Lisa’s blog here

Ravi Naik, Public and International Law Solicitor and Head of Public Law at ITN Solicitors, wrote as part of Unlocking Detention for our friends at Justice Gap – on the Home Office’s unlawful use of immigration curfews after release from detention.  Read “Released but not yet free” here.

Ravi also wrote a short piece explaining the legal situation and what people should do if they are given an immigration curfew on the Unlocked blog here. The post highlights how communicating immigration detention is not solely about abstract policy issues, but can also raise awareness of legal rights that those affected might otherwise be unaware of.

Also this week, Detention Forum members UKLGIG released the report they have co-written with  Stonewall, on the treatement of LGBT asylum-seekers in detention.  Read “No Safe Refuge” here.

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