A Somalian prisoner is still serving time inside Lincoln prison nine years after the end of his sentence, inspectors reveal in a damning report today into the overcrowded city-centre Victorian jail.
The prisoner, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for rape, completed his sentence in 2002 but was deemed too dangerous to be released prior to his removal from the country.
He spent a brief period on bail but was returned in 2008 to the grim prison which holds 50 per cent more prisoners than it should and has high levels of bullying and violence, according to the report. The prison’s inspector said that a second convicted rapist from Iran had spent an extra two years inside the prison after the end of his term.
“It seems that for reasons neither man can control, such a return is extremely difficult if not impossible,” according to the report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons. “It cannot be right that they continue to be detained for so long without the authority of a court.”
The UK Border Agency said the repatriation of prisoners could be delayed by continued legal action and lack of cooperation from prisoners or the country where they were due to be returned. However, it declined to say why it had taken so long to return the two prisoners.
A UKBA spokeswoman said: “These two individuals are guilty of serious sexual offences and are extremely dangerous. One of them has absconded before and the other has previously failed to comply with his bail conditions. It would not be in the interests of the public to release them prior to their removal from the UK.
“Foreign nationals who abuse the privilege of coming to the UK by breaking our laws should be removed at the earliest opportunity. If deportation is delayed, an extended period of detention is sometimes needed.”
Campaigners said the inspectorate report was one of the worst they had seen and listed a catalogue of problems at the public sector jail. The report on the category-B men’s prison was published just days after it was saved from closure after a public outcry over the 500 jobs that would be lost.
Inspectors, who visited in August, said the prison was not safe. Inmates who were too frightened to leave their wings to go to work were punished if they refused to name the perpetrator.
It said there was clear evidence of prisoners develvicoping a drug habit in prison and they could easily get hold of alcohol and drugs. Up to half of prisoners were locked in their cells during the day while a newly-built academy at aimed at getting prisoners back to work was found to be almost empty.
Andrew Neilson, of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “If you want an example of the terrible consequences of overcrowding in our prison system, you need look no further than Lincoln. The damning inspectorate report is among the worst we have seen.”
He called for fewer inmates or more money for the prison which has 20 per cent fewer staff compared with 2009.
Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, said: “This is not acceptable and we have taken urgent action to address the Chief Inspector's concerns.”
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