Bingo enjoyed by immigration detainees… and that’s not all

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After concerns over the length of time detained women have been held, entertainment has been provided in the form of Zumba and Bingo. And that’s not all, the removal centre in question even has an on site beauty salon – it makes one wonder, would this be that bad of a place to visit?

Yarls wood immigration removal centre, after previously being gutted by fire due to an unsightly riot that took place in 2001, has seen great benefit in the behaviour and compliance of female detainees by offering them a range of on site activities. Considering the length of time some detainees are held at Yarls wood (one case in particular stayed there for more than 800 days) – it was clear that measures needed to be taken to “dampen” the effect of the detainment it self by making it a more comfortable, homely and accessible environment.

After a report from the Independent Monitoring Board looked into the welfare of those staying at the centre, it concluded that “the sports hall offers a varied time table of activities throughout the week from afternoon football sessions for men, as well as yoga, Zumba and bingo.”
“We are pleased to note the resumption of the Yarls Wood choir under the auspices of Music in Detention.”

“The salon offers a range of treatments or detainees and continues to be extremely popular.”
“Among the Asian population threading and hair colour treatments are the most popular, while African and Caribbean detainees tend to opt for hair extensions and manicures.”

The IT suite at the centre also offers a fully comprehensive array of courses covering computer skills such as word processing, and even daily English classes amongst other subjects. One area the report did bring to a negative light was it’s health care facilities, citing that those staying at the centre were experiencing long waits for appointments and vital medication.

After one Chinese detainee was held at Yarls Wood from March 2012 and went through several phases of self harm, it became clear that the quality of life at the detainment centre needed to improve vastly – it’s great to see that the management behind the centre were willing to meet the need for change head on and make improvements for those staying there.

Whilst the health services available need improvement, it’s clear to see that the, on average, 4,600 detainees passing through the gates of Yarls Wood are going to have a far more pleasant stay due to the changes made.

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