Category Archives: HM Prisons Inspectorate

Morton Hall IRC – Well Run But Some Concerns & Challenges

IRC_Morton_Hall_entrance

Morton Hall immigration removal centre was working well to prepare detainees for removal or release, but safety had declined, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the immigration removal centre (IRC) near Lincoln.
Morton Hall had previously been a women’s prison until May 2011 when it was re-roled to become an IRC. It 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 the last inspection in 2013.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
staff engaged effectively with some very frustrated detainees and maintained good relationships overall;

  • detainees had reasonable access to activities and facilities were good;
  • there was a range of education provision and teaching and learning were good, and there was enough work for the population; and
  • welfare staff provided a valuable service and work to prepare men for release or removal was better than elsewhere.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • levels of violence and antisocial behaviour had risen and the IRC needed to do more to understand the causes to enable it to take a more active approach;
  • there had been a self-inflicted death since the last inspection in 2013 and another man has died since this inspection;
  • self-harm had risen threefold, and the causes had not been sufficiently analysed to inform a strategy to reduce it;
  • too many detainees were held for prolonged periods – 31 for over a year – and the average length of detention was also high at over three months; and
  • Morton Hall had suffered the impact of new psychoactive substances becoming available.

The IRC looks and feels like a prison, with a great deal of razor wire in evidence to prevent access to roof areas. While it might not be feasible to change this in the immediate future, it should be a longer-term aspiration so that the environment can more properly reflect the principles of immigration detention.

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.”

A copy of the full report, published on 21 March, can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

HMP Featherstone: Serious Decline

Standards have declined at HMP Featherstone, and the decline in safety was particularly concerning, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the training prison near Wolverhampton. HMP Featherstone holds around 650 men and was last inspected in 2013. At that time, inspectors reported generally positively… Continue Reading

HMP Wymott – A reasonably safe prison doing good rehabilitation work

HMP Wymott remained reasonably safe and was doing good work to rehabilitate prisoners and to reduce the risk of reoffending, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the training prison in Lancashire. HMP Wymott holds over 1,100 prisoners, approximately half of whom have been convicted… Continue Reading

HMP Exeter: A Prison In Decline Due To Staff Shortages

There were not enough staff at HMP Exeter and safety had declined, as had work to rehabilitate prisoners, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Current staff should, however, be praised for their efforts, he added. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the local prison in Devon. HMP Exeter held 490… Continue Reading

HMP Leyhill: A Safe & Decent Open Prison, But Prisoners Are Not Being Discharged By A Lack of Approved Premises

HMP Leyhill was a safe and decent prison which helped to prepare prisoners for release, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons – but where he also found untrained, unsupervised, prisoners were expected to mentor other prisoners, where there were problems with the release on temporary licence system (ROTL) and where a lack of approved… Continue Reading

HMP Hewell – Improvements But Serious Safety Concerns On Closed Site Say Inspectors

Safety needed to improve on the closed site of HMP Hewell but some notable progress had been made and the open site was generally good, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an announced inspection of the category B local prison and category D open prison in Worcestershire. HMP… Continue Reading

HMP/YOI THORN CROSS – A WELL-LED OPEN PRISON

HMP/YOI Thorn Cross was a safe and decent prison with good work, training and education provision for prisoners, and support to help them resettle back into communities, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Managers and staff were to be congratulated, he added. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the open… Continue Reading

HMP WHATTON – SOME EXCELLENT WORK WITH HIGH-RISK OFFENDERS

HMP Whatton had a clear sense of purpose and was doing some excellent work to reduce the risks posed by the prisoners it held, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the training prison in Nottinghamshire. HMP Whatton is a category C prison holding over… Continue Reading

East Sutton Park – An Excellent Women’s Prison

East Sutton Park was very good at helping to rehabilitate prisoners and prepare them for life back in the community, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the women’s open prison in Kent. East Sutton Park is one of only two dedicated women’s open prisons… Continue Reading

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