It’s really hostile right now

What is the situation like inside?

It’s really hostile right now. The thing is I’m confused as to what’s going to happen and the officers, basically, they’re clueless as well, they don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s a lot of confusion inside. For example: There’s a guy, they told him that he’s been released, then all of a sudden, he don’t have a caseworker, so they’re giving people false information.

And then when people are acting out you want to be putting them in the block and they changed, they said, they’re trying to close down the gym, the mosque, the church, and all of these things, the pool table, all of these things, they don’t want no gathering kind of thing. But before that, they put more tables on each wings, put two people in a cell, in a room together. And trying to put everyone together. And I was saying to them “That’s not right, because if one person gets it, everyone’s gonna have it. And you lot are putting people’s rights at risk because no one inside can catch it because we’re not seeing anyone.

They’ve stopped all visits now. That’s a no-no. So the only person you can catch it from is the officers.

Have deportation flight stopped or are people still being issued tickets?

Sunday just gone, I knew they had a flight out, but I’m not quite sure where. I knew they had a flight to Poland I think yesterday or the day before but that got cancelled.

Do you know if anyone has been taken out of detention because of the virus?

Not personally, but there was a few people there that we haven’t seen or heard from, they kind of kept it on the D-low kind of thing.

What’s the process if people develop symptoms inside?

Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know what their protocol is for that.

Regardless of the situation, if they’re following everything, if they’re trying to say they’re following what the government says, half the things that they’re doing inside now is wrong. So if they follow what the government is saying, they should take that person to one side, get him tested sooner rather than later, and if all those tests come back and he’s not positive then fair enough. But we don’t know… I don’t know what step they would take for that as yet.

Are people being tested?

No, I think they’re isolating them.

What has your experience been like? How have things changed?

My experience. When I first arrived it was because I was one of the people that they said had a charter flight. So it was nerve-wracking. And then when the flight got cancelled, they didn’t tell no one, they did not let anybody know whatsoever. No one. So everyone was just there up until this day, it was today they called me and said, “you’re being released”. That’s it. They don’t let you know nothing. The way they go about things I think is wrong. Holding someone there for however long, not letting them know, if you go to court, they’re telling you “they’ve got a flight that’s imminent”. I mean, what is imminent? Imminent could be in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years. What is imminent? You have people there for years. Years. And you’re not releasing anyone, you don’t have a reason why you’re keeping them there, so why don’t you release them on certain conditions.

The next thing I don’t understand is, if they’ve got someone that’s signing on and that’s on tag, what’s the need for you to be taking them back into detention? And they don’t have a flight that’s imminent?

And the way they’re going about things as well, say for instance, you’ve appealed your case and they don’t let you know in advance like “okay we’re dismissing your case” and the reason why they’re dismissing your case. Because they told me, they turned down my appeal because my family ties was not real. How are you going to tell me, me, my wife and my child, that’s not real? What can I go and borrow someone’s child? The way they go about things is stupid.

They have people working in there who are not helping you whatsoever. You’ve got a doctor in there, when you go to him, he’s not listening to you, he’s writing information on your paperwork, it’s like he’s working for the Home Office. He’s not there to help. I don’t understand, why are you working in here? You’re meant to be a doctor, you’re meant to be finding out the reason, you can’t be treating everyone, everyone’s got a different problem, a different illness, but you’re treating everyone the same. “Everyone’s depressed, you want anti-depressants or all of these sleeping tablets”. No, not everyone’s got the same problem, they’re forcing things on people.

Are people being released?

People are being released. But they said a few hundred, I haven’t seen a few hundred. Today is the first that I’ve seen 8 people, yesterday there was 2, today there was 8. Maybe it’s getting better… I don’t know. No yesterday there was none. Monday there was 2. People were going to court yesterday, and then they found out they didn’t have any court. They’re still there up until now.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Apart from the healthcare in there is rubbish, the Home Office lack of information. When you ask a question they don’t get back to you. They give you a letter, you can apply for status, but me personally, I waited for a whole month and I had to go to them and ask them, the same day, they said they refused it. And they received something saying that I had a flight that was imminent. What is imminent? And the caseworkers that they give people… I’ve got a caseworker that lives in Liverpool. I’ve never spoke to my caseworker. Not once. My caseworker don’t know me from nowhere. And every single thing I ask my caseworker, she said “no.” Every single thing. You name it. They’ve said no to it.

The system is not fair on anyone. There’s a no win. You can’t win.

They need to have guidelines that you can go off. Not picking and choosing, who and why or how many.

I put in for a JR and within an hour or so, they’re saying my JR was refused. What are the guidelines they go through? What measures did they take? What did they look at? What don’t they look at? I don’t understand. Those are things I would like to know.

I done 14 months for robbery for a mobile phone. Me and a friend, basically, I was trying to stop my friend from getting into an argument with an ex-friend and he went to the police and we stole them, we took their phones. That’s that. I was on tag before I went to jail and I only done about 6 weeks. 2 months. Then they put me in a detention centre and I got bail from the detention centre, this was back in 2012 I think it was. Since then, immigration and my caseworker, I had my indefinite leave to remain, that got taken away from me. Everything I’ve put into my casework at the Home Office, they’ve declined it. They told me that, my mum, my brother, my sister, and my dad, that I came into this country with are not my family, they’re not my immediate family. They also told me, my medical condition that I have is okay. I suffer from chronic headaches, and I blackout, I was previously been running tests on my heart and my head and because I’ve been back mostly in detention, they change your hospital appointments each time you come, so your family or you don’t know when you’re going. When you do get released you have to wait, because under the neurology part it takes 6 months to a year a for the doctor to see you, this is kind of a difficult procedure. So all of that has gotten mixed up throughout the time. It’s been real, real difficult trying to take care, and get medical help. I don’t know. I know that I pass out randomly, anytime anywhere, you name it, I’ve done it.

Not everyone falls under the criteria [of asylum] because some people use it just to get out. The people that are genuinely, literally, genuinely need to seek asylum, they just look at it. Not everyone suits that criteria. They need to check out these people’s stories, see if it’s genuine. If they’ve got scars to prove it, if they have family that has been in the same situation. They need to, basically, ask for more information, go about it a different way. Because I’ve been here since I was 11 years old and I haven’t been back to Jamaica. They killed my cousins and our family member. I even got a medical condition that they don’t give two shits about.

I’ve passed out several times in the detention centre and my friend and my missus was on the phone and they were all telling me ‘get up’ kicking me, telling me to ‘get up’ and these are meant to be people that’s working in the detention centre with the NHS. Things like that are not right because regardless of the situation, if I would have known that, that they were doing these things to me, I would have then flipped out if I was not in a vulnerable state. And then that would have made it look bad for me. I black out and I don’t know nothing. I pass out.

Sunday just gone, I passed out and I dislocated my shoulder in my room. I didn’t know my shoulder was dislocated or anything. In the morning I was taking Ibuprofen every 4 hours and it’s wearing off every 3 hours and I have to wait to take it back again. I was in so much pain, I did not think calling them to find out and asking them for healthcare would do me any justice because they don’t really care. It’s not what they’re telling people, what they’re putting out to the public is not the same treatment that you’re getting. When I went to healthcare I saw a nurse and a doctor that was working in mental health and it’s only then that nurse, she started doing her job properly, and she asked “how did you dislocate your shoulder?” and I was like “I think I passed out because I can’t remember how or why it happened” and then she went through asking questions and running tests on me. Then she went to speak to her manager, the manager came in and she started assessing me and then the doctor came in and put my shoulder back in and he said “I’m going to send you to the hospital to get an x-ray”. Even now I still need to do physiotherapy on my shoulder and I need to get that sorted out but I don’t know how I’m going to do that now because of the whole corona thing. So I don’t know how I’m going to go about that, I need to find out.

Since I’ve been there, I’ve been there since the 28th of January till today and that was the first time I talked to someone in healthcare and they were absolutely doing their job. That’s the first, the first, and I’m not exaggerating, the first time I think I literally got genuine help from someone. And if they had more staff like those two ladies in there, like, brilliant, brilliant, thumbs up, all day everyday but if they’re making you speak to the doctor like I was spoken to the first time I got there, no way you’re getting help, you could be dying, and they tell you to just take paracetamol or they can give you something stronger, co-codamol, without listening to you.

I’ve done a rule 35, genuinely I’m putting for asylum, a genuine case, I don’t need to fabricate nothing, I don’t need to lie about anything about what happened in my past and they, he, done a rule 35, he was meant to refer me to mental health and he done nothing. I told him, “could he up my doses for my medication?” he’s like “no” the only thing he could do is give me paracetamol and Ibuprofen for my headache, where my head’s hurting. I was like “Ibuprofen, paracetamol do not work for me, this is not a now issue, this an ongoing issue for the last 10 years” or more. He’s not understanding that, he don’t care. I said it to the managers, I’m like “listen, I really don’t like the way this doctor is treating me if he’s treating me like that, I don’t want to know about anything else”. And then I spoke to a couple other detainees, they go to him, me and two other guys got there and saw him, all we wanted to do is turn back, because we know that we’re not getting no help whatsoever. A lot of people feeling like that. There’s no help. And these are meant to be people that’s meant to be helping you.

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