I finally gathered some time together to go out on a couple of shoots this month. First on the list was to visit my local Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire. Yarl’s Wood IRC is located on the same business park as Redbull indoor skydiving, The idea that a detention centre would be located on a business park probably would have surprised me a few years ago.
Since 2007 the facility has operated by Serco and can house up to 400 people although I’m not sure house is the correct verb… I’ll use ‘hold’, the same verb used by the unfortunately named Norman Abusin, who is the centre manager at Yarl’s Wood IRC. Originally opened in 2001 it has never been far from controversy, with allegations of sexual abuse of detainees, multiple hunger strikes, protests, riots, allegations of violence and to top it all a fire in 2002 during which an order was carried out to lock detainees inside the burning building.