Part of the immigration removal centre on Western Heights Formerly the borstal but now run by as a removal centre for illegal immigrants, 14 October 2009, by Nick Smith. Photo from Wikicommons.
Over 30,000 people entered the UK’s detention centres in 2013 compared to just over 4,000 in Germany which receives four times as many asylum applications. In 2014, 15,658 in detention centres were forcibly removed from the UK, and 13,739 were released back into the community, so their detention was unnecessary.
The UK has 13 immigration removal centres (IRCs):
Brook House, Gatwick
Campsfield House, Oxfordshire
Dungavel House, South Lanarkshire
Larne House, Antrim
Morton Hall, Lincolnshire
Pennine House, Manchester
Tinsley House, Gatwick
Yarl's Wood, Bedfordshire
The UK is the only European Union country that lacks a time limit on immigration detention.
According to a report by an All-Party Group of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, 'the most populated IRCs are either converted high security prisons or have been built to that specification.'
The UK is also detaining people who are victims of trafficking or torture. Instead, it should be referring them to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which is a framework for identifying victims of human trafficking and ensuring they receive the appropriate protection and support.
Unlimited immigration detention contributes to lasting mental health problems among detainees. For instance, according to IRIN:
A young woman from Guinea who was detained upon her arrival at Heathrow Airport. During 17 months in a detention centre, she suffered a mental collapse and was frequently isolated or hand-cuffed to prevent her harming herself. In July 2014, the High Court ruled that her detention was unlawful and that her human rights were violated.