The statement made by Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, in the House of Commons on 23 November 2021.
I am today announcing the opening of Derwentside immigration removal centre for women in County Durham. Detention plays a limited, but crucial role in maintaining effective immigration control and securing our borders. It is right that those with no right to remain in the UK are removed if they do not leave voluntarily.
This new, smaller immigration removal centre will replace Yarl’s Wood as the only dedicated immigration removal centre for women. In order to maintain operational flexibility, we will continue to maintain some limited detention capacity for women at Colnbrook, Dungavel and Yarl’s Wood. These changes will significantly reduce the overall immigration detention capacity for women.
Derwentside will be operated in line with the statutory framework established by the Immigration Act 1971 and the Detention Centre Rules 2001. The centre will provide safe, secure and fit for purpose accommodation for up to 84 women, with a full range of recreational and healthcare facilities tailored to women.
We are committed to ensuring the proper protection and treatment of vulnerable people in detention. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of women is at the forefront of the new facility, and builds on the learning and experience of Yarl’s Wood. The new contract to operate the centre takes into account Stephen Shaw’s reviews of vulnerability in detention, with increased staffing levels and major improvements in the frequency, diversity and accessibility of educational and recreational activities.