Ex-detainees and charities criticise long-term detention.

The Inspectors of UKBA and prisons released a joint report that criticised the way UKBA is handling the cases of people who are detained for a long time. This came hot on the heels of another inspection of Lincoln prison which found someone who had been detained under immigration powers for 9 years after their prison sentence ended.

Organisations which work with people in immigration detention and people who have been detained signed onto a letter responding the The Guardian’s article.


According to the law and the policy of the UK Border Agency, detention can only be used as a last resort. The Inspectorates highlight that this is not always the case and that the detention of ex-prisoners has become the norm.

We find that people are routinely detained for months and sometimes even years. People in detention compare it to mental torture because they do not know when they will be free. This is backed up by swathes of evidence that people’s physical and mental health deteriorates rapidly in detention.

Furthermore, the cost of holding people in detention for years when they cannot be deported means that millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money are wasted every year.

The UK is alone in Europe in detaining migrants for years without a time limit. There is a lack of legal representation and independent scrutiny over decisions to keep people in long-term detention. This creates unacceptable scope for bad decision-making by UKBA to lead to indefinite detention.

There is an urgent need for the government to introduce a time limit on immigration detention. Never again should a migrant be forgotten for nearly a decade in immigration detention.

Ruhul Anam, detained over 4 years
Bhavan Ravindra, detained over 1 year
SS, detained over 3.5 years
William Kpato, detained over 3 years
HH, detained over 3 years
TJ, detained 3 months

Toomaj Karimi, detained 18 months
Jerome Phelps, Detention Action
Ali McGinley, Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees
Anna Beesley, Scottish Detainee Visitors
Bill Mckeith, Barbed Wire Britain
Bridget Walker, Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network
Cecilia Taylor-Camara, Catholic Trust for England and Wales
Clare Sambrook, Journalist & co-founder End Child Detention Now
Don Flynn, Migrants’ Rights Network
Dr Frank Arnold
Heather Jones, Yarl’s Wood Befrienders
Jacqui Stevenson, African Health Policy Network
Jock Morris, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees
Lisa Matthews, National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns
Liz Peretz, Campaign to Close Campsfield
Mary – Jane Burkett , Brighton Voices In Exile to the letter.
Nic Eadie, Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
Nigel Caleb, Detention Advice Service
Pete Keenan, Kent Refugee Help
Phill Jones, The Trinity Centre