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The impact on the detained person

  1. The use and misuse of these powers can have very harmful consequences for detained people, particularly those who were already vulnerable or experiencing mental health issues.
  2. Dr Rachel Bingham, clinical advisor to Medical Justice (a charity that provides medico-legal reports and advice to detained people), told the Inquiry:

“segregation has been associated with worsening symptoms of depression, severe anxiety, psychotic symptoms and exacerbation of post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]. Suicidal thoughts and risks of suicide are also increased. In the context of asylum seekers suffering from PTSD, for instance, it can precipitate or intensify the traumatic memories of flashbacks of their past mistreatment and increase their feelings of powerlessness.”1

  1. A number of detained people gave evidence about the severe impact that the use of Rule 40 had had on them.

9.1 D313 was held subject to Rule 40 the night before a proposed deportation flight. He said:

“It was really frightening to be held in isolation at this point. I felt like harming myself … I was by myself and I was just walking up and down. I had no one to talk to. I was very upset and I was in tears.”2

9.2 D1473 was held subject to Rule 40 after refusing to share a cell with someone he did not know. He said:

“Being segregated made me feel vulnerable and scared again.”3

9.3 D1538 was diagnosed with a severe major depressive disorder with psychotic features and dissociative disorder after being released from detention. In relation to Rule 40, he said:

“I hated being put in isolation … it made me feel like an animal. All you have is the cell – the four walls … It was very cold. You are alone.”4

9.4 D1914 began suffering with serious health issues in 2016 due to a heart condition. Referring to being held subject to Rule 40 the night before his planned removal, he said:

it made me feel like I had no value, like no-one cared about me or my life.5


  1. BHM000033_062 para 157[]
  2. DL0000233_005 para 25[]
  3. BHM000039_015 para 73[]
  4. DL0000231_008 para 34[]
  5. DL0000229_044 para 159[]