We manage detainees in immigration detention by providing the following:
- health care
- general services, including meals, education, recreation and religious activities
- care arangements for unaccompanied minors
- tracing and restoring family links.
Health care provided to detainees in immigration detention facilities
All detainees in immigration detention have access to health care at a standard generally comparable to the health care available to the Australian community. We currently have a contract with International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) which provides and coordinates health care for detainees in immigration detention, including community detention.
People entering immigration detention undergo a health induction assessment, which includes assessing for any physical and mental health issues. This assessment informs an ongoing health care plan.
IHMS provides primary health care through general practitioners (GP), nurses, counsellors and psychologists located within detention facilities. Specialist and ancillary services, including psychiatric, dental and physiotherapy, are provided by referral to an IHMS community network provider or onsite, by visiting practitioners. Emergency and acute health care is provided by local hospitals. Some detention facilities have paramedics or nurses located onsite after-hours.
Health care provided to community detainees
The health needs of community detainees are coordinated by IHMS, through a network of community-based providers. Community detainees are assigned a GP and pharmacy and, as required, the GP will refer the detainee to other health services, such as allied and specialist services. Community detainees can make an appointment with their GP at any time and are subject to the same waiting times as any member of the Australian community accessing public health services. The costs of health provisions for community detainees are billed to IHMS and passed through to us.
Education and other activities
The detention service provider runs cultural and lifestyle classes, sporting activities, excursions such as fishing or shopping trips, and educational programmes and English language classes for detainees in immigration detention.
Detainees in immigration detention facilities have access to resources and equipment for self-education and recreation. These include computers, CDs and videos, art and craft supplies, sport and recreational facilities and equipment, and a library with a variety of reading material in various languages.
A variety of nutritional meals are served three times a day. Special meals are also prepared for cultural and religious festivals, such as Ramadan and Christmas. Detainees who need special diets for cultural or medical reasons are catered for. Access to beverages and snacks are available between meals.
All immigration detention facilities have areas for prayer and worship services, and detainees in immigration detention can practise the religion of their choice. Religious Representatives provide services for most major faiths. Detainees have access to:
- religious representatives
- appropriate religious books and materials
- communal areas for religious activities, celebrations, feasts and worship.
Care arrangements for unaccompanied minors
We entered into a contract with MaximusSolutions Australia to provide specific care and support for all children who are in immigration detention facilities throughout Australia who don’t have a parent or guardian with them. MaximusSolutions work closely with us and Serco to co-ordinate care arrangements for children to ensure their unique needs are met, and their safety and wellbeing promoted.
While detainees are in immigration detention, there are a range of meetings and interviews which they are required to undertake. For children and young people who don’t have a parent or guardian with them, the contract with MaximusSolutions provides for Independent Observer services. The Independent Observer is there to provide a friendly and reassuring presence for the child and to provide pastoral care and support through formal interview processes.
Tracing and restoring family links
We entered into a contract with the Australian Red Cross to provide an immigration detention Restoring Family Links (RFL) service to detainees held in immigration detention.
The objective of the RFL service is to re-establish contact for detainees in immigration detention who have lost contact or have been separated from family members or close friends by situations of armed conflict, internal violence, natural disaster and any other humanitarian cases in which there are no other means of communication.