Self-harm incidents rise at Morton Hall removal centre
A rising number of self-harm incidents at an immigration centre is "a matter of definite concern", a watchdog has said.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) said cases of self-harm at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre increased from 181 in 2017 to 217 in 2018.
A report also raised concerns about people with mental health conditions being detained at the centre.
The Home Office said it was committed to supporting vulnerable detainees.
The IMB report, which looked at the centre's performance for 2018, questioned the policy of housing detainees with criminal backgrounds alongside detainees with no such background.
It said this had an adverse effect on the safety and welfare of the latter.
However, the report praised improvements to mental health care and said staffing levels had increased.
Malcolm Brock, chair of the IMB at Morton Hall, said: "As a board, we see improvements in the conditions for men at Morton Hall but remain concerned about the suitability of a detention environment for some detainees.
"We recognise the vigilance of staff in identifying detainees who are struggling to cope within the [centre].
"Nonetheless, the increase in incidents of self-harm is a matter of definite concern and is indicative of the difficulties that an uncertain and indefinite length of time in detention presents for the wellbeing of some detainees."
A Home Office spokesman said: "Immigration detention is an important part of the wider immigration system, and we are committed to using detention sparingly and only when necessary.
"We have made significant improvements recently and are committed to doing more and introducing further alternatives to detention, increasing transparency and improving the support available for vulnerable detainees."