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Durham County Council opposes new women's detention centre, campaigners say

PLANS for a new women’s detention centre in County Durham have been opposed by the local council, a decision described by campaigners yesterday as a “game-changer” in their bid to halt the proposals.  

Home Office proposals to open a new facility for up to 80 women at the former Hassockfield Secure Training Centre and Medomsley detention centre in Consett have faced fierce opposition from local campaigners, MPs and human rights groups since they emerged earlier this year.  

Campaigners have welcomed Durham County Council’s decision to pass an amendment stating that the site was not suitable for the detention of female asylum-seekers. 
 
The council said: “It is acknowledged that most detainees in this type of facility are not criminals and that 86 per cent of women detained in 2018 secured their freedom and now contribute positively to our society.”  

No to Hassockfield campaign group chairman Owen Temple called the local authority’s move a “game-changer,” adding that the council has challenged the view “fed to north-west Durham” that the centre will be filled with criminals deported to protect public safety. 

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