I’ve been in ________ detention camp now since January of this year, I basically finished my sentence. After I finished my sentence I spent extra 3 months in jail and I was brought down here to _______ detention camp. It was really, really depressing when they brought me here. It was a very stressful situation for me. This country basically know that … the Home Office basically know that I’ve got children and they brought me here even after I finished my sentence in jail which was very difficult – it made me more depressed.
So the real truth really came up when the corona situation came around in the whole world. At that period the detention people wasn’t really … to be honest they didn’t really care about the corona situation with us – the detainees. There was no hand gel, or anything that would put us in a safe environment in the detention camp. So the only time they were getting this situation serious was when they were getting visited by the immigration – from the big bosses – they were coming down to _________. That was when they started acting like they were doing everything right.
It’s good they’re trying to contain the coronavirus. The wings are closed. But a lot of people are really, really stressed because they want to go to education, they want to go to the internet to speak to their family or immigration – they provide a social media where you can speak to your family. Now, a lot of wings don’t have time to do those things. Because of cross-contact. Now the people that can pick up the coronavirus is the officers, not the detainees – because they’re coming from outside. And the time they’re giving them to go to education or internet is limited. So there’s a lot of things – immigration are just doing that – when people are trying to speak to them – they just do whatever pleases them. They say they can’t do it because of coronavirus – it’s a joke – they didn’t give us no masks – and the officers are coming from outside with no protective gear. They did not give no detainees face mask to cover themselves when it was really, really serious. There was no hand gel, or nothing. So what if corona came in here? What would have they said? It’s not fair. And I heard a couple of officers that had the coronavirus as well and they came to work. There’s no protection – nothing. Until one of the bosses from immigration had to come for a visit. When you go to the healthcare at that time – when the coronavirus was happening, there was no sticker to say 2 metres gap – it was all dangerous. It’s not fair what immigration is doing.
Most of the officers, they’re really nice, but I’d say about 60% of the officers don’t really care about what we really needed.
I would say two things that really happened to me. We’ve got a mouse infestation in the cell – in the wing. We’ve got bed bugs in the cells – they didn’t really take that very seriously until now.
And recently I just changed my wing. I’ll tell you my story, what’s been going on since I’ve been in ____ wing.
There was a time in my cell … I was in my cell watching a TV programme and I heard a scratching noise in my box where I kept my food in. I saw this mouse – there was a mouse in my box and I saw that and I immediately went to report it to the officers. They took my food away. They said they were going to reimburse me with my food. So they kept me hungry for almost 3 weeks before they could even reimburse me with my new canteen that I had in my box. They left me hungry. I told them about it – they said they’d sort it out – they never did – after 3 weeks. The food I had in my box was almost 30-40 something pounds and they only refunded about £20. I asked the manager, ‘so, what you refunded is not enough to cover my whole costs of the food I had’, and that was how everything just went … they no more said anything about it. I just left the whole situation.
So a few days ago as well I was in my cell I was sleeping and I felt a mouse. I was sleeping and felt something scratching my face – it was a mouse. So that was around 4am in the morning, so, I quickly stood up, I saw the mouse jump up and run away. I washed my face very hard. I had to wash my mouth because I was worried that the mouse has weed all over my face. After I cleaned up my face I called the office, I rang the office that was doing the late shift in the morning, they came to my door and said, ‘okay, in the morning try and speak to the manager’. And when it was 8 O clock I phoned the staff and said I wanted to speak to the manager. But I felt really bad because I felt that the staff they didn’t really take my complaint very seriously. And I was really, really upset with it. So they kept me waiting until after 10 in the morning.
Then one of the managers came and I said this was the situation. The manager didn’t even ask me ‘okay, you know what, would you like to move to a different cell, you need a new towel, a new bed sheet’ or something like that – nothing – the first thing she said to me was – ah, she’s going to send me to healthcare psychology. Why would I want to see a psychologist?! Why would I want to see a psychologist?! She was supposed to be someone to care for the detainee, you know? Saying ‘you know what, you need a new towel, have a shower, we’ll make sure we find a new cell for you and if you want to move wing’. She never said anything like that. So basically she put me down for psychology.
When she spoke to me I didn’t say nothing, I was upset by the statement she said. And I went to the health care who said, you know what I need to see a doctor to check myself to make sure the mouse didn’t pee in my mouth or anything like that. Just to make sure I was okay. So, when I came back to my wing I was upset by the whole thing. None of the officers came to me or asked me anything.
When I came back to the wing I saw one of the immigration ladies. I told the lady everything that happened. At 1 O clock, they wanted me to clean. And I was really upset. I went upstairs to clean, but I felt sad because, I felt the staff only wanted their own job to be done. They didn’t really care about me. You understand what I’m saying? They wanted me to clean. I was already upstairs, I went upstairs already and it was clean. And they were screaming my name and I didn’t really answer.
What I’m trying to say is that, most of these officers, they only really, really care about themselves. Honestly. They don’t really care about what you’re about to tell them.
________ Centre is a very dirty wing. Dirty cells. The cells are very dirty. Most of the cells had bed bugs. The cells are cold as well. During the winter time the cells were really, really freezing. I told them about the temperature as well and they keep saying they’ll come and do it and they never did it. Even during the summer time when it was so hot as well. A lot of us don’t have fans in our cells. When it’s boiling hot – there was no breeze.
Sometimes even you want a shower – you have to shower with hot water – you can’t choose which water you want. When you go to the shower – you can’t even shower with cold water. It just comes out hot – automatically. And when you shower the hot water you’re sweating more – so what’s the point of showering?! It’s just completely hot – it’s humid. We don’t even have a fridge at least for our drinks – just for it to be cold. When you buy your drink your drink is hot. When the room is hot there’s not even a fan.
They don’t find solutions to see how they can help people here. So sometimes when you’re depressed and stressed, it’s very difficult for you to find someone you can talk to.
The only thing that really cares about me is the mental health. Which were really good to me. And the education section as well was really, really good for me. One of the teachers that has really helped me to really, really move forward in my life and try to help me with the pain, depression, stress, was one of the teachers in the art class. She’s a really, really fantastic teacher. She has helped me a lot … really, really helped me a lot. Her name is _____. She has really, really helped me a lot, she is fantastic in here.
I felt like most of the officers here do not really care about us at all. One of the things that really upset me so much was during the coronavirus. They didn’t really care about if, you know, if we’re going to be sick they’re even not providing no masks for us. For our face – nothing. They didn’t give us no mask at that period. Nothing like that, even no anti-bacteria for our hands – nothing. You know? I really, really felt bad. The only time they were really stepping up was because they were going to have a visit – that’s when they started doing things.
I’ve been here for 8 months now. It’s unfair. They know I’ve got children. They know that I’ve been to jail and I’ve done my time and it’s just not fair. You know, keeping me here for no reason. They’ve kept me here for so long. Making me more stressed.
I don’t think that it’s really that healthy for a lot of us here. There’s a lot of people as well that have really got problems. And when they really try to speak to the officers – they laugh. I see them. We see them a lot. It’s like they use situation that we have to mock us – they talk behind our back and we see that – they laugh. If they’re there to help, they don’t want to help.
It’s just a couple of the officers – that are really, really good. But I’ll guarantee you that when you need to do something for yourself to know that you’re going to take care of yourself – the most – they don’t really care. When you try to tell them to help you with something, they don’t really care. You really have to put in so much effort for them to listen to you. So basically, if you tell them that ‘ah you know what, I’m not going to bang up – I’m not going to go into the cell’ – that’s when they want to take things very, very seriously. During the lock hours time – around 9 O clock – if you tell them that you don’t want to get banged up, then a few of the managers come – that’s when they want to listen to you. So it’s a lot of stress in this situation.
I’ve got a friend who stays here as well. Every day he’s been crying. Every day he just doesn’t want to stay here any more. He needs a ticket to go back to his country but … we can all see that it’s so stressful. Nobody wants to help him. Nobody wants to listen to him. Yesterday he called me and said that he’s not even gonna ‘lock’ – he’s not gonna go into his cell for him to be locked up because nobody wants to listen to him. He’s been in the centre now since about a few months, about 2 months now. And he’s been crying that he needs his ticket to go back, but they keep laughing at him, it’s like they’re mocking him. They don’t want to speak to him to help him. And yesterday he called me to say that he’s not going to go to his cell for the officers to lock him. Really late at 9pm. So he has to wait for the managers to come before they will speak to him. I just feel like a lot of things need to change in this place.
Even the food we eat – the food we eat here is sometimes – the fish we’re given to eat is not even proper cooked. You understand? Sometimes the rice we’re given is not even proper cooked so basically sometimes I have to buy canteen to even eat. Like today, most of the time, even, everyday I don’t even really eat the food. The only time I eat is in the night time like 8 hours I’ve been locked up that’s the only time I feel like I want to eat – because I can’t even eat the food. My cell right now that I’m in right now is very cold. Today feels very cold. Yesterday was really hot and stuffy. They don’t really take nothing really serious at all.
The only officers that are really there for me are ____ and the person who really helped me as well is in art, because I’ve never done art before, but I’ve learnt so much. She’s always told me that ‘don’t let your situation always put you down’. But when you try to talk to other officers they never take you serious.
I’m really upset as well that even my canteen that – mouse went into that they reimbursed me with £20 – none of the officers that I told about my situation has come up to me and said ‘you know what, we’re gonna make sure that we’ll pay you back the remaining money for your canteen.’ They never paid me! They never paid me back my money. I wrote every list down of the £20. I just smoke tobacco, and tobacco here costs £15. So what other food was included in it? Nothing. So that tells you that these people don’t really care. They don’t really care. Even for me to get that £20 I have to always tell them every day about my canteen. They left me 3 weeks without my food. It’s unfair. It’s really unfair. It’s just ridiculous in here, I’m telling you.
Even at the end of the day, when we go for bail, they said you’re gonna leave at this time. Like now, I was supposed to go to _______. They were going to provide an address in _______. They promised me I was going to go to _______ for my address. My lawyer said to me. She’s a fantastic lass she’s so hard working – I appreciate that I’ve got her as my lawyer. She worked so hard for me to get my accommodation. They give me accommodation in ________. She said to me last week I was going to get released. So the probation was supposed to approve the address. Now they’re calling me – she called me and said to me that the probation couldn’t approve the address because someone else has moved there. So why would immigration give me an address in ______ and said I was going to go to and now it’s cancelled.
So now I have to wait again – til next week. Now they put me in a situation that – I don’t even know the place that I’ll be going. At least I was happy because my kids – my children are in ______. Now all my heart was – at least I’m going _______. So why would they change and say ‘you know what – you’re going to a different place.’ I believe they’re doing this purposely just to make you more depressed which is not really good – it’s not nice. They shouldn’t be doing things like this. If they’re going to do something they should keep their word. You understand what I’m trying to say to you?
It’s just a bit stressful being here but, you know what, you just have to be strong. Very stressful. 8 months. I did my sentence about 9 months and I ended up staying extra 3 months. It’s unfair. 2 days I was gonna go home and immigration came for me. And they kept me in detention in jail for extra 3 months and bring me down here again. So in total I’ve stayed here about 10 months. I served my prison sentence – for 9 months. I finished that and after I finished that, they gave me an extra 3 months …. 2 days before I was going home they came for me. I was gonna get released here. I was gonna go out. I’ve been here since January. So it’s just a bit stressful and depressing. It’s really bad. It’s a long time. It’s a long time.
Please if any way you lot can help us, they should try and make sure that this place is a clean place for people to live. It’s not clean. There’s a lot of mouse infestation – bed bugs. I don’t know if it’s bed bugs but I noticed some biting on my body. The cells are dirty. Completely dirty. It’s tough in here. It’s really, really difficult.
You know Ms _____ – she’s fantastic – she always calls me every single week. She doesn’t need to be doing that but she calls me every time – what’s going on – what I need. If other officers can do it for me – I have to call Ms. ____ because she’ll sort it out for me. Even I have my engagement officer – she doesn’t even pick up her phone. It’s like they don’t care. I really needed her so much, you know, to speak to her. My engagement officer – they don’t really care. The phone was ringing and she doesn’t …. I have to call Ms. ______ they’re the one who will sort it out. Immigration needs to change. Just a few people in different departments who really care about you. I’m so lucky to have Ms. ______. I’m telling you. She’s been one of the backbones for me. She’s made it possible for me – when I’m stressed and depressed and I ring her – you know – she speaks to me – she makes sure that it’s done. I’m so grateful for everything she has done. I’m telling you the truth.
I’ve been here a while and once I’m out I’m just going to thank god that I’m out. Need to get a rest and just relax. I just can’t wait to see my kids because I really miss them so much. It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve seen them. I just can’t wait to see my family. I miss my children. I can’t wait to go out and be happy and see my children.