Mitie Group is a British facility management, consultancy, and product management company that operates private prison facilities and immigrant detention centers in the United Kingdom.
Mitie Group PLC (Mitie) is a publicly traded company headquartered in Bristol, UK that provides facilities management, consultancy, product management, and a range of specialist services. Based in the United Kingdom, Mitie employs over 52,000 employees in several offices throughout the UK and Ireland. Its annual 2017 revenue was £2.14 billion ($2.8 billion). Mitie manages two private prisons and two immigrant detention centers in the United Kingdom.
Mitie is the largest single private sector provider of immigration detention services to the Home Office, the UK government department responsible for immigration, security, and law and order. In 2017, Mitie’s “Care & Custody” business, which includes its immigration detention centers for Home Office, generated £46.4 million, approximately $61.6 million. This marks a 31% increase in revenue from 2016. Mitie’s immigration detention centers business comprises 21.6% of its total revenue.
In 2014, the Home Office awarded Mitie with a $270 million, eight-year contract to manage Harmondsworth immigration removal center near Heathrow Airport and merge it with another facility. The deal was settled at a price 30 percent less than previous contracts held by The GEO Group and Serco. Private prison companies such as Mitie, GEO, and Serco are forced to compete on price by government-offered bids. Consequently, they chase profit by cutting costs and reducing the quality of their services. Currently, Mitie manages Campsfield House and Harmondsworth immigration removal centres (IRCs), which totals to oversight of over 1,200 detainees.
A 2015 report published by the UK’s Inspectorate of Prisons documented the poor conditions at Mitie’s Harmondsworth immigration center by the Heathrow airport, which detains asylum seekers, people who have overstayed their visas, and non-British nationals who have completed their jail terms in the UK. The poor conditions include run down accommodation, unsanitary toilets and showers, overcrowding and poor ventilation. Eighteen detainees were held for over a year in violation of Home Office laws which state that detention in immigration centers should be used sparingly and for the shortest durations necessary.
The poor conditions in private detention centers have contributed to increased suicide rates. In 2015, the number of suicide attempts in UK detention centres averaged more than one every day, with 393 people trying to take their lives - a record high. In March 2015, almost 250 asylum seekers at Mitie’s Harmondsworth immigration detention centre went on hunger strike to protest living conditions.
In 2017, Mitie was the target of a divestment campaign led by students at Durham University, demanding that the university end its £5 million ($6.6 million) contract with Mitie, which provides Durham with cleaning, landscaping, and total security management. The campaign cited reports of overcrowding, poor sanitation, hunger strikes, little to no pay, and detainee suicide in Mitie’s immigration detention centers. In May 2018, Durham University renewed its contract with Mitie, including it in its operational plans for the following fiscal year.