About detention

What is immigration detention?

Immigration detention is the practice of incarcerating people for administrative immigration purposes. In the UK, people are detained indefinitely in prison-like conditions while their immigration or asylum claim is processed. It is unnecessary, expensive and inhumane.

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people were indefinitely detained in 2018. The government claims people are held 'as a last resort'.


are released back into the community, their detention having served no purpose


of people currently in detention (December 2018) have been held for over 28 days.


cost to the taxpayer to detain someone for a year. The detention system costs over £100m per year


compensation paid by the government for unlawful detentions since 2012


country in Europe with no time limit on immigration detention (the UK)