Issue receives new government’s priority
13 May 2010: The days of detaining the children of immigrants are apparently over. For the new coalition government has called for an early end to the practice.
In fact, the coalition document makes it apparent that the Tory-Lib Dem government is to end such detention on priority basis.
It is, rather, one of the key policies in the first coalition pact, to be followed by a final coalition agreement.
The decision comes just over a month after Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ) called for an end to detention of children. The statement was made in response to a report released today by Dame Anne Owers, Chief Inspector of Prisons on an unannounced inspection of Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire.
The new government has also made it clear that a pupil premium for disadvantaged children and young people will also be introduced. For the purpose, money from outside the existing schools budgets will be used; and it will be funded by reductions in spending elsewhere.
RMJ chief executive Caroline Slocock said they were delighted at the decision to end child detention for immigration purposes and applaud the new government for recognising the inhumanity of this practice, which treats children like criminals when they have done no crime and can leave scars for life.
Slocock said they hoped that this would be implemented immediately and that whatever measures brought in to replace detention would put the welfare and safety of these children first.