Summary of key issues
Due to its remoteness, the nature of its security infrastructure, and the limited access to facilities and services on Christmas Island, the CIIDC is not an appropriate facility for immigration detention, particularly for people who are vulnerable or have been detained for prolonged periods of time.
The Red compound, used for single separation, is a highly restrictive environment and is not an appropriate place of immigration detention, even for a short period of time.
A considerable number of people detained at the CIIDC were apprehensive about their physical safety and described the detention environment as unsafe and unpredictable.
Certain aspects of the transfer process are not appropriately justified, particularly in relation to the lack of prior warning of transfers and lack of adequate opportunities for people to pack their belongings and notify family members, friends and legal representatives prior to the transfer. The use of restraints for the entire duration of transfers to Christmas Island may not have been necessary or proportionate in all cases.
Concerns about accommodation arrangements at the CIIDC remain ongoing, particularly in relation to dormitory bedrooms which provide no privacy.
Facilities for exercise and activities at the CIIDC are generally of a good standard. However, the implementation of a ‘controlled movement policy’ has had significant impact on living conditions, freedom of movement and access to facilities for people detained at the CIIDC.
Excursions from the CIIDC take place infrequently and present a significant challenge for facility staff given the limited community resources and options for excursions on Christmas Island.
There significant level of concern among people detained at the CIIDC about physical health care and the impact of detention on mental health.
Many people raised concerns about limited access to communication facilities at the CIIDC. The policy prohibiting all mobile phone use may restrict access to external communication to a greater degree than is necessary to ensure safety and security. In-person visits to the facility are rare due to the logistical challenges of travelling to Christmas Island, with the result that many people detained at the CIIDC had faced lengthy separation from their families. Many of the people interviewed by the Commission indicated that they had been in immigration detention for a prolonged period of time and in some cases had spent most of their time in detention at the CIIDC.
Status Resolution Officers are not currently able to provide people in detention with adequate case management support.