ASSIST Sheffield

Challenging asylum destitution

Parliamentary Joint Inquiry criticises UK immigration detention periods and conditions

A Joint Inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and the All Party Group on Migration into the use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom has analysed the current practice employed by the Home Office.

The report has criticised the length of time individuals have been kept in immigration detention, the facilities that are used as Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs), the conditions within those centres and the practice of detaining vulnerable individuals. The report also challenges the UK’s entire approach to handling those within the immigration system and instead recommends developing more ‘community-based resolutions’.

Other specific recommendations of the group include:

  • A time limit of 28 days on the length of time anyone can be held in immigration detention centres
  • Decisions to detain should be very rare and detention should be for the shortest possible time and only to effect removal.
  • The Government should learn from international best practice and introduce a much wider range of alternatives to detention than are currently used in the UK.

The report also specifically criticises the use of high security prisons as IRCs; whereby currently individuals who have committed no crime are treated like prisoners, held in cells where they eat meals beside their toilet and the Inquiry agrees with the Chief Inspector of Prisons when he says ‘that conditions are “inappropriate for immigration detainees and contribute to worse outcomes for those held there.”’ The report also challenged current access to legal representation and healthcare for those detained. It also questioned the practice of detaining victims of trafficking and torture, those with mental illnesses and pregnant women.

An executive summary of the report can be found here