Prison probation and independent monitoring groups in Dover and Heathrow, made up of volunteers commissioned by the government to assess reception conditions, have visited several facilities over the past three months.
Charlie Taylor, the prison’s chief inspector, said there was only “limited improvement” in 2020, although promised after previous inspections.
“Prisoners (in 2021) were in a very bad situation, including a large number of helpless minors,” he continued.
According to the report, families with small children had to spend more than 24 hours in tents near Dover, the main English port on the banks of the English Channel, while women who reported being raped by human traffickers did not receive “adequate assistance”.
The document also points to “significant” issues in the care of dissenting minors who are “routinely” kept with adults who have no relationship.
When Doug Haven visited downtown, near Dover in October, inspectors noted low temperatures, especially on double-decker buses that are sometimes used for overnight stays.
They found that many children, including infants and vulnerable adults, stayed there to sleep and that some injuries – burns, cuts, leg injuries – went undiagnosed or untreated.
Inspectors cited a case in which “a 16-year-old girl burned fuel at her feet and was in Doug Haven for two days in wet clothes.” When her wounds were finally identified, “a doctor said the stitches on her clothes were embedded in the burns and that she might have scars for the rest of her life.”
Deficiencies have also been noted at a center at London Heathrow Airport, which keeps immigrants out of the UK before they are deported.
Investigators said four buses arrived one night and the migrants had to sleep on the ground without adequate sanitation facilities.
They called the conditions “unacceptable and disgraceful, but unavoidable due to the inability of the arrival processing center.”
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