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Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre

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Report on an unannounced inspection of Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (12–29 February 2024)

Harmondsworth IRC healthy establishment outcomes

What we found

Population pressures in prisons meant far more former prisoners were being held in Harmondsworth alongside those with no criminal conviction. Assaults had doubled since the last inspection and drug-taking, usually rare in IRCs, was now widespread. Inspectors could smell cannabis and saw detainees openly smoking in communal areas without being challenged by staff who largely kept to offices with “do not enter” taped across their doors. Perhaps unsurprisingly, nearly two thirds of those detained in Harmondsworth said they had felt unsafe in the centre.

Almost half of those who completed the inspectorate’s survey said they were suicidal and the centre held many men with known vulnerabilities, including 20 whom the Home Office had accepted would be likely to suffer harm from ongoing detention.