Delays in the immigration system have resulted in foreign national prisoners being held past their sentence. While some progress has been made in the last few weeks, the Independent Monitoring Board raises concerns about the psychological impact this may be having on those affected.
The IMB at HMP Maidstone also notes in their 2022-23 annual report that:
- Communication between the Home Office and prisoners is poor, with some key documents only being provided in English.
- Long standing and continuing delays, and uncertainty around end of sentence arrangements is leading to increased anxiety and negative behaviour among prisoners.
- There are only 400 activity places available across the prison, leaving roughly a third of the population without any form of meaningful activity, education, or training. This has a direct impact on prisoners’ chance of successful resettlement.
However, the Board are pleased to report that:
- Overall HMP Maidstone is a safe prison. The prison is well run and prisoners, for the most part, are observed to have good relationships with staff and each other, and levels of violence continue to remain low.
- Prison staff work hard with limited resources to support those for whom they have responsibility.
IMB Maidstone Chair, David Skinner, said: “Every day in the prison, members of the IMB see the real and immediate consequences of the Home Office’s failure to clear their backlogs. Significant improvements could be made to the fair and humane treatment of people in HMP Maidstone if these backlogs could be cleared. While there has been some progress, more needs to be done.”