Morton Hall in revolt again

Tagged as: migration repression
Neighbourhoods: lincolnshire morton_hall

The situation in Morton Hall immigration detention centre is at boiling point again after a series of incidents around Christmas. The trigger for events was another serious breach of their responsibilities by the detention centre management who failed to deal swiftly with disruptions to the water supply. A large number of detainees refused to return to their cells in protest. A serious disturbance on Christmas Eve resulted in a detainee ending up in hospital with a serious head injury and injuries to a number of prison officers. There was also a thwarted escape attempt on Christmas Day.

According to No Deportations the situation that sparked the incident was grim:

there was a serious water supply failure, before the incident, all toilets blocked, no running water whatsoever, no cooked meals, detainees given sandwiches and cold drinks

Libcom has more detail:

Several prison officers are reported to have been injured during a serious disturbance at the Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre on Christmas Eve. One prisoner is said to be in a serious condition in hospital with a head injury. Between 30 and 40 Prisoners are believed to have started a peaceful protest against conditions within the facility, and refused to return to their cells when instructed to.

Despite the UK border agency playing down the incident, the POA (Prison Officer Association) claim that around 50 individuals were involved in serious violence that included the use of home-made knives, pool-cues, and snooker balls. They also claim that there was a serious escape attempt thwarted on Christmas day.

A POA spokesperson stated that:

“We feel one of our people is going to get killed as staffing levels have been reduced. We will get a member of staff killed on duty”.
Local activists with contacts inside the prison had been told of detainees being locked in their cells without access to toilet facilities for most of the day in another disgraceful abuse of power by the authorities. Other reports suggest that detainees have been subjected to a long-running campaign of sleep deprivation by guards deliberately banging doors when doing night time checks.

When people are forced into intolerable conditions for the "crime" of crossing borders without asking permission it is no surprise that they resist. We need to demonstrate our active solidarity when they do.