In the News: Suicide attempts at UK immigration removal centres at all-time high

The number of suicide attempts in immigration removal centres is at an all-time high, averaging more than one a day, according to official figures.

The new data from the Home Office comes as the government faces growing pressure to reduce the use of immigration detention, especially for vulnerable individuals; people who have committed no crime; and those with no identified risk of absconding. Concerns have also been expressed about the cost to taxpayers of detaining more than 30,000 people a year.

The figures, which were released following a freedom of information request bythe NGO No Deportations, showed there were 393 recorded suicide attempts in 2015, up 11% on the previous year.

The number of people entering detention last year (32,466) also increased – up 7% on 2014. But 3,515 more people left detention in 2015 compared with the previous year.

The figures showed that Harmondsworth immigration removal centre near Heathrow had the highest number of suicide attempts, 105, followed by Yarl’s Wood with 64. Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire mainly houses female detainees.

A total of 2,957 detainees were on suicide watch during 2015 including 11 children.


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