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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Pictures, Prisons and Potential Protests against Prejudice's ascii art collection is impressive and fun.

There I learned that ascii is pronounced ask-ee, and some of the images are incredible. Some of them also hurt your eyes, but that doesn't take away from the ingenuity that went into them.

The Guardian reports that detainees are held in 'filthy' conditions in Lindholme, near Doncaster which is where part of a prison is given over as a detention centre for asylum seekers.

Notable parts of the article report that,

The Home Office admitted last night that troublesome detainees at a "filthy and dilapidated" immigration removal centre in Doncaster had been thrown into the punishment cells at a neighbouring prison without proper authorisation.

Anne Owers, in her report on a follow-up, unannounced inspection in February, concludes that Lindholme is not an appropriate place to hold immigration detainees. She says there has been little improvement since her first snap inspection two years ago concluded that Lindholme was not a healthy establishment for detainees.

"Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the inspection was the filthy and dilapidated state of many of the communal areas. Paint was peeling, floors had ingrained dirt, and all of the telephone rooms - very important for detainees' contact with the outside world - were in a disgraceful state," said Ms Owers.

There had clearly been problems in managing the cleaning contract: but it was noticeable that, by contrast, the parts of the centre used by staff were in excellent condition," says the chief inspector's report.

Tim Finch of the Refugee Council said: "It was always a mistake for Lindholme to be so closely located to a prison and it was highly likely the whole centre would operate like a prison."

So, so depressing, and outrageous too. I am furious.

Topically, you can find out about an event for Refugee Week in Sheffield.

And the Independent reports that the worst aspects of the proposed mental health bill which seemed to be sleeping for a while. A Mad Pride press release succinctly explains the problems with it as,

the Mental Health Bill From Hell - New Labour's proposed legislation designed to increase the profits of the drug companies at the expense of our misery. The Bill promises to introduce "Community Treatment Orders" - forced medication, often with horrific side-effects, outside the hospital setting for over 6,000 mental health cases - and to incarcerate an estimated 600 people with "personality disorders" as a precautionary measure, even if they are well and have committed no crime.

I really hope that the mental health service user community can come together and really, really fight this draconian, discriminating, terrifying proposition.