Prisoner kept in jail for nine years beyond the end of his sentence

Man detained because there was nowhere to deport him to.

A prison van leaves HMP Lincoln. Photograph: Getty Images

The HM Inspectorate of Prisons has released a summary of its report on HMP Lincoln, which details "serious concerns" about the running of the facility.

The report begins:

At the time of inspection, there was speculation about its future role and this may have caused uncertainty and poor morale among staff. It was overcrowded, with about 50% more prisoners than it was certified to hold. The environment was poor and although work was under way to replace those areas that caused most concern, this had not yet been completed. Like other prisons, financial constraints and staffing changes caused difficulty. Managers complained of a lack of support from the centre. However, that does not excuse the very poor inspection findings.

And then goes on to list a host of failings, including, unbelievably:

  • Inspectors found a foreign national prisoner who had been held a shocking nine years beyond the end of his sentence.

Joshua Rozenburg, who pointed out this failing on Twitter, also finds the backstory in the full report:

We found two foreign national prisoners who had been held for lengthy periods beyond the end of their sentence, one for a shocking nine years beyond the end of his sentence. These two men had each been awarded and served long sentences by the courts and then been kept in administrative detention for many years beyond the end of their sentence. These are both men who have committed serious offences who in normal circumstances would be returned to their own country after they had served their sentence. However, it seems that for reasons neither man can control, such a return is extremely difficult if not impossible. It cannot be right that they continue to be detained for so long without the authority of a court.

We're waiting for comment from the Home Office on how this was allowed to happen.