Australian immigration detainees’ lives controlled by secret rating system developed by Serco

Developed by Serco, the company tasked with running Australia’s immigration detention network, the Security Risk Assessment Tool – or SRAT – is meant to determine whether someone is low, medium, high or extreme risk for factors such as escape or violence.

The SRAT seems to be producing “very conservative assessments of risk”, according to Jonathan Hall Spence, a lawyer with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. “There’s no process for having it reviewed or overturned or reconsidered,” he said.

Versions of these security risk assessments, described as “a series of mathematical calculations” by Australia’s home affairs department, have been in use since at least 2012.

The SRAT calculates a detainee’s “risk” for behaviours such as escape, demonstration and self-harm based, in part, on their pre-detention history and more than 30 incident types that may occur in detention, such as abusive or aggressive behaviour, assault, possessing contraband or the refusal of food.

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