Illegal immigrants awaiting deportation at a detention centre are to be offered a “culturally diverse” menu after inspectors ruled that prison staff must cater for their tastes. The 575 male inmates at Verne Immigration Removal Centre, in Portland, Dorset hail from 84 different countries, meaning that a vastly broader menu now has to be drawn up.
About half of the inmates are convicted criminals, and all are awaiting deportation back to their country of origin, the Express has reported. But despite their illegal status, the men have rejected the standard prison fare of fish and chips or shepherd’s pie, insisting that prison staff serve ethnic foods instead, at the taxpayers expense, according to the Express.
Prison inspectors have now agreed, insisting that a new “world menu” be created.
The prison must also provide menu cards printed in a range of languages, comments cards for the detainees to give feedback, and even the instillation of a “cultural kitchen” so that detainees can cook their own local cuisines before being shipped home.
The Ministry of Justice has said: “Centres are required to provide multi-choice menus to ensure all religious, cultural and medical needs are met. Our spend on meals is £2.02 per detainee each day.”
But critics have pointed out that the increased spend will take money from the already overstretched prison budget. In July of this year the prison population of England and Wales was 84,930, nearly double the population recorded twenty years ago. While government statistics reflect a net migration figure into the United Kingdom of 330,000 over the last year, little can be known about the true scale of illegal immigration into the country.
As a result, many prisons are overcrowded and most are underfunded, prompting Jonathan Isaby of the TaxPayers’ Alliance asked simply: “Do the authorities really feel they can justify this?”