Undocumented migrants often held in solitary confinement

Failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in Dutch detention centers are still sent to solitary confinement for punishment relatively often, even after former Justice State Secretary Fred Teeven promised to reduce the number of such punishments. This year 75 percent of measures imposed in such centers involved a trip to solitary confinement.

The Volkskrant reported this on Monday based on figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Teeven promised to reduce the use of isolation following the suicide of Russian asylum seeker Aleksandr Dolmatov in a Rotterdam asylum center in 2013. According to the newspaper, there has been a decrease in the absolute number of people punished with isolation, but this has more to do with a decrease in the number of people in the detention centers than a decrease in the use of this punishment. A failed asylum seeker or undocumented migrant is sent to a detention seeker only if he or she is to be deported in the near future and there is evidence that he/she will not go willingly.

In 2013 a total of 3,670 people were sent to a detention center and there were 662 trips to solitary confinement. Last year there were 2,728 people and 450 trips to a solitary confinement cell. This does not include figures of people being kept in isolation in their own cells.

Solitary confinement and other measures are increasingly being used following a so-called medical incident, such as suicide attempts, self-harm or hunger and thirst strikes, according to the newspaper. In 2013 a third of the imposed measures followed such an incident. Last year it was 38 percent and in the first six months of this year it was almost half