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26th July 2021, 10:26

Prison at 94% capacity as issues with travel links to Morocco continue

The prison is at 94% capacity, due in part to the fact that immigrants continue to be held there, and that there continue to be complications in repatriating Moroccan nationals due to a lack of travel links.

Windmill Hill Prison has a capacity of 98. In response to GBC questions, Number 6 confirmed 64 prisoners and 28 individuals subject to detention orders were being kept there – a total of 92 people.

Since then, yet another young man was found out at sea, detained and sent to the prison.

Some of these individuals have been in the prison for months; GBC last week reported on Younes Ghuzrain, who has been detained on the rock since January. He went on hunger strike, refusing to eat for a month, until he was hospitalised. Mr Ghuzrain eventually agreed to break his hunger strike, and apply to have his detention order removed, as advised by the court. He did so, was denied, and returned to prison.

Despite the situation, the government says it believes it is unlikely that the prison will reach capacity. Number 6 told GBC it hopes arrangements to be able to deport to Morocco will soon be confirmed and that it is unlikely that contingency arrangements will be required. It did not say what these contingency arrangements are.

Last year, a Pakistani national was held in Windmill Hill prison for nearly eight months before being set back to his home country.