Are you in detention?


0800 587 2096

In a world of forms, phone calls and email-only correspondence… It was always reassuring to talk to a supporting voice and feel heard.


0800 587 2096


If you’re unable to use our Freephone number, you can call us on 020 7226 3114

We support people in Harmondsworth, Colnbrook, Derwentside and Sahara Unit detention centres and people held under immigration powers in prisons

Detention Action is a charity that provides emotional and practical support for people in immigration detention.

We are completely independent from the Home Office, prisons and the detention centres.

Our telephone line is open:

Monday – 10.30am to 1pm
Tuesday – 10.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm
Wednesday – 10.30am to 1pm
Thursday – 10.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm
Friday – 10.30am to 1pm

If you leave a message with your name, number and CID, we will call you back. If you are in a prison, please share your prison reference number and the name of the prison you are in.

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Your questions

What you tell us is confidential. We will not tell anyone outside of Detention Action about your situation without your permission.

The only exception to this is if you say you want to seriously harm yourself or harm someone else. In that case we must inform the detention centre.

You can see our privacy notice here.

Sometimes it is just helpful to have someone to talk to.

We are here to listen to whatever you want to talk about. We have volunteers who may be able to visit you in detention. We may also be able to speak to you with an interpreter.

Please let us know what your first language is if you don’t speak much English.

We do not provide legal advice, but we can help you communicate with your solicitor if you are having difficulty contacting them or if you don’t understand what is happening in your case. We can also explain how to get legal advice if you don’t have a solicitor.

Everybody’s situation is different. If you tell us about your situation, there may be other ways we can help or other useful organisations we know. If you need specialist help, we can signpost you to other organisations like Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) or Medical Justice. If you are confused about what is happening, we can explain how things work in detention or who to speak to for more information.

You can call our free phone number if you are having trouble contacting people, you have no phone credit or you aren’t sure who to call. Our free phone number is 0800 587 2096.

Detention can feel very isolating, and it can help to have someone come to visit you. We have a number of volunteers who visit people in detention. Visitors can provide emotional support if you need somebody to talk to, but they can’t help with your legal case.

Call our free phone number on 0800 587 2096 and we can talk to you about visits. If you’re unable to use our Freephone number, you can call us on 020 7226 3114.

The detention centre should be providing you with adequate healthcare. If you do not know how to speak to healthcare or you are worried about getting treatment, we may be able to give you some advice or put you in touch with other organisations.

We are not medical experts but if you call our free phone number on 0800 587 2096 we can talk about your healthcare needs.  If you’re unable to use our Freephone number, you can call us on 020 7226 3114.

There are legal surgeries in each detention centre where you can get an appointment to see a legal aid adviser. You should ask about this in Welfare. They should give you up to 30 minutes of free legal advice and may be able to take your case on following this.

If you do not know how to find your legal surgery or are having problems with your solicitor then we can talk to you about your options. We are not lawyers and can’t give legal advice but we may be able to help.

Call our free phone number on 0800 587 2096 and we can talk about your options. If you’re unable to use our Freephone number, you can call us on 020 7226 3114.

Detention Action supports people who are held in Colnbrook, Harmondsworth and Derwentside detention centres, as well as people who are held under immigration powers in prisons in England and Wales.

Other detention centres have specific visitor groups who may be able to help. You can find their details below.

If you don’t have somewhere to live when you are released on bail you might be able to apply for accommodation from the Home Office. Detention Action can give advice on whether or not you are eligible to apply for accommodation and can support you with the application. We cannot advise you on how to apply for bail or be a surety.

If you are in detention the best way to contact us is on our free phone number:

0800 587 2096

However you can also fax us on 0208 7226 3016 or email us at

Detention Action believes that in most cases immigration detention is a major injustice. People in detention often want to speak out about the reality of life in detention and to tell people outside what is happening to them.

We are campaigning to end the use of unjust and unnecessary detention and we can help you get involved with our work, whether it be through speaking out or other forms of campaigning.

If you are currently in detention or have previously been in detention and would like to be involved in our campaigning, you may be interested in joining our experts-by-experience group, Allies for Justice.

I don’t trust anyone in the centre. No one listens to me. When I feel bad, I call you. When I talk to you, I feel better.