The Government respects the rights of detainees to practise their religious faith. The provision of religious services in immigration removal centres (IRC) is through the Detention Centre Rules 2001, the Operating Standards for IRCs, and the relevant sections of the contracts and service level agreements relating to religious affairs.
Under Rule 21 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001, if detainees on admission to an IRC wish to declare that they belong to a particular religion, that information must be recorded. This information is recorded by the IRC service providers on their own internal detainee management systems and is used to inform the religious provision available at the IRC.
IRCs are equipped with mosques and multi faith rooms for detainees to use for prayer, study and reflection. Communal prayers are available in all centres as well as facilities for prayer in the detainees’ rooms such as access to prayer mats. Each IRC is required to have a manager of religious affairs whose duties include: establishing a multi-faith team; arranging for ministers of religion to conduct religious services for detainees; and arranging for ministers of religion to visit detainees of their religion soon after their reception into the IRC and as often as they reasonably can thereafter. Each IRC is also required to publish a calendar of religious festivals and observances so that recognition is given to those events and those concerned are able to observe them. Engagement with faith groups is undertaken at a local level by the IRC religious affairs manager.
The religious needs of detainees held at short-term holding facilities must be catered for so far as practicable but, given the limited nature of the facilities at such sites and short durations of stay, there would not be organised services or ministers of religion present.
All IRCs have a number of appointed religious chaplains in place. Management information shows that there were 11 new religious chaplain appointments made at IRCs between 2014 and 2018. Of these 11 appointments, 2 were made in 2014 (Gatwick IRCs and Morton Hall), 4 in 2015 (1 at Gatwick IRCs, 1 at Yarl’s Wood IRC and 2 at Morton Hall), 2 in 2016 (Gatwick IRCs and Morton Hall), 2 in 2017 (Gatwick IRCs and Heathrow IRCs) and 1 in 2018 (at Gatwick IRCs). This is provisional management information that is subject to change.