The UK has one of the largest Immigration Detention Estates in Europe. UK Policy results in asylum seekers facing detention at any time, despite committing no crime whatsoever. Detention has no time limit and is not automatically subject to judicial review. Many endure months and some endure years of indefinite detention. There are no safeguards in place to prevent the detention of vulnerable persons including those who have faced imprisonment, torture and /or sexual violence in the countries from which they have fled. This harmful and expensive practice is unnecessary and deprives people of their freedom, their dignity and is damaging to their mental health. This page provides links to various detention campaigns and organisations and to reports about detention in the UK. Please help us to keep this up to date by emailing [email protected] with news, reports and campaigns.
Organisations and Campaigns
The Detention Forum is a network of organisations working together to challenge the UK’s use of detention.
Detention Action supports detainees in Harmondsworth and Colnbrook Detention Centres and campaigns for an end to immigration detention. See also their Frequently Asked Questions about Detention and their reports including Detained Lives
RAPAR (Refugee and Asylum Seeker Participatory Action Research) is a Manchester-based human rights organisation which has a webpage for the development of informed and effective action about immigration detention
AVID – Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees: Produces regular updates and latest statistics
Bail for Immigration Detainees – Bid provide legal advice and representation to migrants detained in removal centres and prisons to secure their release
Film Resources on Detention
Some short, excellent and updated awareness raising videos can be found at StandOff Films. They cover the recent hunger strikes and campaigns. Their new documentary , “Working Illegally” is told primarily through detainees’ testimonies, based on original research by Corporate Watch. It offers critical insight into the labour that maintains the UK detention estate, as well as a general introduction to the immigration detention system.
The historic Shut Down Yarl’s Wood demonstration on 6th June, 2015
Facts and Figures on Detention
Corporate Watch: Fact Sheet on Immigration Detention Centres September 2016
Its latest briefing May 2017, provides an overview of immigration detention in the UK. It discusses the size of the UK’s detention facilities, the number of detainees, the average duration of detention, and the detention of children. Key findings of the briefing include:
The UK immigration detention estate is one of the largest in Europe. From 2009 until the end of 2016, between 2,500 and 3,500 migrants have been in detention at any given time.
In 2016 28,900 people entered immigration detention compared to approximately 32,400 in 2015.
The single most common category of immigration detainees is people who have sought asylum in the UK at some point.
Over 1,000 children were detained for the purpose of immigration control in 2009, falling to 71 in 2016.
In late 2016 the estimated average cost of detention was £86 per day.
Reports on Detention
Without Detention: Opportunities for Alternatives. September 2016 from Detention Action.
Immigration detention in the UK – University of Oxford Migration Observatory: This briefing provides an overview of immigration detention in the UK. It discusses the size of the UK’s detention facilities, the number of detainees, the average duration of detention, and the detention of children. It reports that the UK’s immigration detention facilities are among the largest in Europe: between 2,000 and 3,500 migrants are detained at any given time.
This report is on Europe’s largest immigration detention facility, which holds up to 661 male detainees. It is located a few hundred metres from Heathrow Airport. The report identified ‘substantial concerns in a number of areas’ and highlights:
– Some insanitary and overcrowded facilities.
– 80% of detainees reported difficulties on arrival.
– Nearly half of detainees reported being depressed or suicidal.
– 18 detainees held for over a year, and one individual held on separate occasions for a total of five years.
– Little positive engagement between staff and detainees.
Unannounced HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Report of Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre for Women August 2015
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Report The Verne Immigration Removal Centre August 2015
Migrant detention in the European Union: a thriving business – MigrEurop Report on outsourcing and privatisation of migrant detention across Europe with graphics and stats