There was further embarrassment for the Government and Campsfield House contractor GEO as seven detainees escaped from the Immigration Removal Centre on Thursday. Three remain at large.
The escape is the latest in a series of damaging incidents at the detention centre, the most recent being when inmates started several small fires and rioted on 14th June. Riot police and a helicopter were called in by Campsfield staff.
Last August saw 26 inmates escape from the detention centre, with 8 still at large, and detainees also rioted last December.
The three escapees are Mohammed Aref Hosseini, Abdesalam Tark Ben, and Abdelhak Morid, who are described as ‘low risk’ illegal immigrants.
Oxford MP Evan Harris, speaking at the time of the escape, said: “This further incident at Campsfield House is unacceptable for local residents and for the welfare of staff and detainees alike.
“It seems that lessons have not been learned following previous disturbances and it is time for a proper, fully independent investigation.
“There is something wrong with the way the Home Office is operating the system, or the way GEO is running the centre and I will be speaking to Home Office minister Liam Byrne as soon as possible.”
The incidents have fuelled criticism of the contractor GEO, a UK subsidiary of American firm GEO Group Inc. GEO have repeatedly refused to comment on allegations surrounding Campsfield.
The Home Office has since confirmed that Immigration minister Liam Byrne will review the firm’s contract after the latest incident.
There are plans for a similar detention centre to be built near Bicester.
In a video investigation for Cherwell last term, Nejra Cehic uncovered allegations of violence within Campsfield House and examined the plight of failed asylum seekers.