Shaw Review – positive but piecemeal

Posted on Thursday, January 14th, 2016

In May 2015, René Cassin submitted evidence to the Shaw Review into the welfare in immigration detention of vulnerable persons. Our submission highlighted the fact that the review would never be able to deal entirely with the issue of vulnerability whilst ignoring the central issue of indefinite immigration detention.

The 350 page report out today again demonstrates some of the worse parts of the UK detention system yet continues to ignore an underlying cause of welfare problems. It calls for a widening of the definition of vulnerable people who should not be detained in the first place.

The government’s response is mainly positive and accepts broadly a lot of the recommendations within the review.

Widening the scope of who should never be put into a detention centre (pregnant women for example) is important. However, this report sidesteps the issue of indefinite detention despite the growing evidence which connects the lack of a time limit to increased vulnerability and welfare issues within detention centres.

The report, without mentioning indefinite detention, still paints the grim reality of detention centres, yet even if it’s recommendations are to be accepted in full, which they will not be, there would still be a blotch in the system that causes severe welfare issues – the lack of a time limit.