From time to time, the Ombudsman is invited to carry out investigations into matters that fall outside his normal remit.

This section describes the special investigations undertaken in the last few years.

1. First published May 2008.

Report of an article 2-compliant investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attempted suicide of D at HMP Pentonville on 27 December 2001.

Following the Court of Appeal judgement of 28 February 2006, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman was commissioned to conduct an Article 2 complaint investigation into and report to the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the circumstances surrounding the near suicide of a young man (Mr D) at HMP Pentonville on 27 December 2001. In particular:

  • To establish the circumstances and events, especially as regard management of Mr D by the Prison Service, including considering any information about how prisoners at risk of self-harm were cared for at Pentonville, and to consider relevant outside factors.
  • To examine whether any change in operational methods, policy, practice or management arrangements would help prevent suicide and self-harm in Pentonville and other prisons.
  • Where possible, to examine relevant health issues and to assess Mr D’s clinical care and consider any wider policy issues arising.
  • To examine the extent to which the recommendations of the earlier internal Prison Service investigation have been implemented.
  • To consider the implications for future investigations into near suicides.
Special investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Stephen Shaw, May 2008
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2. First published July 2005.

Inquiry into allegations of racism and mistreatment of detainees at Oakington immigration reception centre and while under escort.

The report of an investigation commissioned by Des Browne, then Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, in response to the BBC documentary Detention Undercover: The Real Story, aired on 2 March 2005. The programme reported the findings of two undercover researchers whilst employed by the contractor, GSL, at Oakington reception centre and on in-country escorting.

Special investigation Stephen Shaw PPO July 2005 Oakingotn IRC racism
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3. First published October 2004.

Report of the inquiry into the disturbance and fire at Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre.

This is the report of the ‘overarching’ inquiry into the disturbance and fire that took place at Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre on 14/15 February 2002.

Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre was intended to house 900 immigration detainees. These were to include failed asylum seekers and illegal migrants, those whose identity had not yet been established, and those whom it was deemed unsafe to allow to remain at large while their claim for asylum was considered. It was built in the context of a target to remove 30,000 failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants during 2001-02. To that end, a need for a detention estate comprising 4,000 places had been identified.

The centre was to open in April 2001. This gave less than a year in which to tender and draw up the contract and design and build the centre. In fact the centre was not opened until November 2001. After just three months of operation, there was a major disturbance resulting in half the centre being destroyed by fire.

PPO special investigation Stephen Shaw Yarl's Wood IRC fire October 2004
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4. First published March 2004.

Investigation into Allegations of Racism, Abuse and Violence at Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre.

This is the report of an investigation conducted on behalf of the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration into allegations of racism and physical abuse at Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre reported in the Daily Mirror on 8 December 2003.

PPO special investigation racism Yarl's Wood March 2004
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