HL Deb 20 March 1997 vol 579 cc107-8WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have received a written protest from 90 detainees at HMP Haslar, Portsmouth, against their conditions of detention; what were the matters complained of; and whether they will review the practice of detaining asylum seekers without charge and for indefinite periods.

Baroness Blatch

We have received a copy of a letter from 90 detainees criticising food, water supply, health care, living conditions and staff attitudes at Haslar Holding Centre. The detainees also complain about length of detention and lack of information about their immigration position, including arrangements for removal.

The then Chief Inspector of Prisons, in his inspection in 1995, found that conditions and facilities for immigration detainees at Haslar were good. These good standards have been maintained. The water supply is checked on a regular basis and has been found to be satisfactory. Detainees are fully aware of the avenues of complaint available to them but no complaints have been received.

Detention is used only as a last resort and every effort is made to keep periods of detention to an absolute minimum. All detainees receive monthly reports of progress on their cases and it is Immigration Service practice to notify detainees' legal representatives of arrangements for removal. The Government are satisfied that adequate procedures exist for detention to be reviewed both internally and independently and see no need for a review of their detention policy and procedures.