HL Deb 11 May 1978 vol 391 cc1254-5WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will investigate the circumstances in which the prison authorities at Pentonville Prison lost the passport of a Nigerian who was detained there pending his deportation; how much longer the detainee has spent in custody as a result of this negligence and what remedies are open to any person who is detained in prison prior to his deportation for an additional period following the loss of his passport, bearing in mind the difficulty a deported person would face in bringing a civil action in a British court.


A deportation order was signed on 21st March against a citizen of Nigeria who is currently held at Pentonville Prison after being convicted of overstaying and being recommended by the court for deportation. He indicated on 7th April that he did not wish to exercise his right of appeal against the destination to which he was to be sent, and instructions were given to the police on the same day to give effect to the deportation order.

His passport could not immediately be found, but while the police proceeded with the other arrangements for the man's removal the passport was located at the prison among his belongings. This incident did not result in adding to the length of the man's detention (he is due to be removed on 10th May—the earliest available date for the flight). In these circumstances, the last part of the Question does not arise.

Sentenced prisoners in prison department establishments in England and Wales on 31st March 1978: by type of sentence and country of birth
Country of birth
Sentence length and type
U.K. Commonwealth Other(1)countries Not known Total
Up to and including 1 year 7,288 373 555 290 8,506
Over 1 year, up to and including 2 years 6,335 354 408 109 7,206
Over 2 years, up to and including 5 years 7,503 630 508 157 8,798
Over 5 years 3,015 297 299 277 3,888
Borstal training 5,146 229 94 142 5,611
Detention Centre 1,851 72 44 29 1,996
Total 31,138 1,955 1,908 1,004 36,005
(1) Including the Republic of Ireland, and Pakistan.