Detention of disabled children condemned

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The Independent Online

Prison inspectors have condemned the treatment of children held for deportation at an immigration detention centre.

Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, said she was "dismayed" that disabled children were being held at Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire and expressed "great concern" at the plight of those locked up there.

In a highly critical report, Ms Owers said that 83 children had been held for more than 28 days. She also attacked the "inadequate" standard of education and after-school care. Inspectors said that children had become withdrawn, frightened and worried because of their experiences.

Ms Owers said: "While child welfare services had improved, an immigration removal centre can never be a suitable place for children and we were dismayed to find cases of disabled children being detained."

Yarl's Wood is the main immigration removal centre for women and children who have been refused permission to stay in Britain.