Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre

HM Inspectorate of Prisons recently published a report on its unannounced inspection of Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre (IRC).

Morton Hall was last inspected in March 2013. This more recent inspection found that the IRC was generally well run, with good provision of activities for the detainees and an impressive focus on welfare and preparing men for release or removal. This was particularly impressive given the high levels of frustration felt by many detainees, fuelled by the fact that many of them had spent a considerable time in detention and for many there was no clear pathway towards release. Delays in casework created some of the frustration. In these circumstances, it was to the credit of leadership and staff that relationships between staff and detainees remained generally strong. However, there had been a significant decline in safety since 2013.

HMCIP Peter Clarke said:

“The very real challenges faced by this IRC should not be allowed to overshadow the commitment and skill of the staff who clearly had the interests of the detainees at the forefront of their minds. We saw many examples of extremely positive interactions between staff and detainees, professional de-escalation of potentially violent incidents and creditable patience in the face of the anger and frustration of the detainees.

“The challenge for Morton Hall is to halt the decline in safety and secure the investment needed to prevent any further deterioration in the condition of the residential units. The inevitable wear and tear of ageing facilities had been exacerbated in many places by vandalism and graffiti. Poor physical conditions will do nothing to lessen the frustration felt by many of the detainees when faced, in many cases, with indeterminate uncertainty about their future.”

The report, published on 21 March 2017, can be found here.