There is a clear approach to promoting equality and diversity, underpinned by processes to identify and resolve any inequality or discrimination. The distinct needs of detainees with protected and any other minority characteristics are recognised and addressed. Detainees are able to practise their religion. The multi-faith team plays a full part in centre life and contributes to the overall care and support of detainees.

21. The protected characteristics of detainees are recognised and addressed with respect and dignity.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met. They do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Detainees with protected characteristics are identified systematically on arrival and initial assessments take account of their specific needs.
  • Detainees with protected characteristics that would make them vulnerable to victimisation in detention, or who need assistance to complete everyday activities, are detained only in exceptional circumstances. When identified, they are referred to the Home Office for an immediate review of detention.
  • Staff promote awareness of equality, anticipating and addressing the needs of detainees.
  • Managers and staff promote an understanding of and demonstrate respect for all ethnic, national, cultural and other diverse groups. Inappropriate language or conduct by staff, visitors or detainees is challenged.
  • Professional interpretation is used wherever necessary to ensure effective communication with detainees who are not fluent in English.
  • The centre provides for the needs of detainees and visitors with disabilities.

22. Families are able to practise their religion fully and in safety.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met. They do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Families are able to practise their religion and commonly needed religious items are available.
  • Families have access to religious leaders and an appropriate multi-faith room.
  • Searches of detainees, visitors and their property are conducted in a religiously and culturally sensitive manner.

Human rights standards

Equality, diversity and faith
In relation to expectations 21 and 22 above: Non-discrimination is a fundamental principle enshrined in human rights treaties and standards. See ICCPR 26; CERD 1, 2; CEDAW 1,2; ICESCR 2.2; CAT 1; CRPD 5. Human rights standards relating to places of detention should be applied impartially and without discrimination. See SMR 2; EPR 13; BOP 5. See additionally in relation to women BR 1, 30–33, and children, HR 4, CRC 2.

In addition to the general non-discrimination provisions set out above, there are specific human rights standards relating to some protected characteristics, including the following:

  • Detainees with disabilities: CRPD 2, 3, 5, 9, 14; SMR 5.2, 55.2, 109.2; UNHCR–DG 9.5.
  • Detainees from national, ethnic, cultural, religious or linguistic minorities: DRM 2; EPR 38. See additionally BR 54.
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity: UNHCR–DG 9.7; Yogyakarta Principles; Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, Recommendations on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Older detainees: UNHCR–DG 9.6.
  • Women: In relation to ensuring private accommodation for women, see UNHCR–DG 8[48(v)]; SMR 11; EPR 18.8.
  • All persons have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, see ICCPR 18; ECHR 9. Human rights standards require that there be no discrimination on the grounds of religion or religious belief and that prisoners belonging to religious minorities must be able to profess and practise their religion without any interference. See EPR 13, 29; SMR 2, 65, 66; BOP 5; UNHCR–DG 8 [48(ix)]. See additionally in relation to children HR 48, CRC 14.

See also standards relating to safeguarding vulnerable adults (in relation to expectations 7–10).