Morton Hall in Swinderby, Lincolnshire, is known as one of the most controversial immigration detention centres. Several deaths have occurred in recent years, prompting many investigations.
The centre, which used to be a female prison between 1985 to 2011, will revert to its initial condition next year.
At the moment, the detention centre can accommodate almost 400 people and it is run by the prison service for the Home Office. Over the past few years, many have complained about the facilities because of its remote location and jail-like conditions.
A recent inspection report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons found high levels of self-harm, torture and violence at Morton Hall.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
“Those in detention at Morton Hall will be transferred to other immigration removal centres. This will be managed carefully with each individual assessed prior to their transfer. Most individuals at Morton Hall will move from the centre in the months ahead for removal flights, bail hearings or other immigration procedures, so the numbers will be reduced naturally in the runup to it returning to its use as a prison.”
Soon, many other detention centres in the UK may be closed. In fact, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the numbers of immigration detainees has fallen dramatically. The UK’s detention centres have been the subject of much criticism since a documentary revealed the inhumane treatment faced by detainees at Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick, London.
The UK has one of the largest immigration detention systems in Europe. Nevertheless, campaigners against immigration detention advocate that the decreasing number of detainees is proof that the UK does not need to use these jail-like means to monitor people.
The number of immigration detainees in the UK has fallen since the the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. [Image: The Guardian]
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