A lack of good accessible legal advice and a culture where staff carried wooden staves to deal with detainees was found by inspectors at Lindholme Immigration Removal Centre.
Chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers said the lack of good legal advice made detainees anxious about their immigration status. She commented that it was unnecessary for staff to carry staves and contrasted badly with private sector IRCs.
Lindholme is run by the Prison Service and inspectors found insufficient separation from the ‘parent prison’ as staff continued to wear prison uniform and remained dependent on the prison for a range of support functions.
Owers said: “Lindholme IRC has made significant progress since our last inspection. However it is still not sufficiently separated – both logistically and culturally – from its neighbouring prison.”
“Until it is, the IRC will struggle to sustain and build on the sound progress it has made,” she warned.
Inspectors found however that suicide and self-harm prevention and anti-bullying procedures were sound although record-keeping and supervision needed to be improved.
Lindholme provided good reception, first night and induction procedures and there were a good range of activities including education and a fitness centre.
Welcoming the report, Home Office Minister Liam Byrne said: “Detention is an essential part of an effective immigration system, but it is critical that it is done with humanity and dignity.
“I take very seriously the recommendations in the report and an action plan responding in detail to each of the recommendations is currently being drawn up to ensure further improvements are made.”
Report from http://inspectorates.homeoffice.gov.uk/hmiprisons.