Image courtesy of Michael Collins
In this blog post, two people currently detained in Morton Hall detention centre tell Leeds No Borders about their experiences.
”From 8pm til 8am we are locked up …
Phone signal is really bad so no one can get in touch. Even outside the signal is poor. If something is wrong in the night, no guards ever answer the bell. You have to apply to contact the Home Office. So even if something is urgent, like a change in your legal case, you don’t get a reply faster than at least a week. If you are facing deportation that slow reply can be a big problem. When the staff try to take me to the airport detention centre, i said ‘whatever you decide, i’m not going away. i am here. i will die here.’ luckily my solicitor put in my legal case fast and i got bail and the flight was cancelled.
Getting your medication is the worst. I have a bad back problem but I had to wait over a week for my medicine. Also Morton Hall is really difficult for people to come and visit as it’s in the middle of no where.
They really use people in detention and pay them just £1 an hour. But you don’t have a choice. You need money for phone credit, cigarettes etc so you need to work but it isn’t right.”
“I was assaulted twice by other people detained in Morton Hall. First I tried to break up a fight and was assaulted. I had a nose bleed the next morning but had to wait 2 days before I saw a Doctor. The second time I was assaulted and my jaw was dislocated. I decided to press charges and the manager of Morton Hall said he would contact the Police but he never did.
Phone signal is terrible. Also the fax machines are always broken. We often need to send our legal documents by fax but sometimes all of them are broken! There is one in each wing but all 5 were broken and the only one in the library was only half printing documents.
I have severe depression and need to take regular medication but my medication was taken of me and there was over a 48 hour delay before I was given it. Also the pharmacy is only open for limited times so you can easily miss it or there are queues. The guards ignore you if you request to see a nurse, especially in the night. One night I was in so much pain but no one came. It was only when I was released from detention that I got treatment. Some of the guards are ok but some have lots of prejudice. ”