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Unlocking detention

Nearly 30,000 migrants are detained without time limit in the UK each year and the size of the detention estate is rising. In anticipation of the results of the first Parliamentary Inquiry on Immigration Detention in early 2015, each week openDemocracy 50.50 unlocks the voices of those inside. This series is a partnership with the Detention Forum. 50.50 Commissioning Editor Jennifer Allsopp. Join the conversation on Twitter at #unlocked.

Philosophies of migration

Migration raises more fundamental questions than 'should these people be here': it probes into the very essence of what it means to be human, as well as how we define our communities.

Migration to the British Isles: a human map of suffering

To move the conversation from 'charity' to 'justice' we must stress the links between those desperately trying to reach the UK and those already here, desperately trying to survive.

Yarl’s Wood: legal black hole

Women in Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre have become increasingly desperate as repeated rounds of legal aid cuts introduced by the UK Government have made it more difficult for them to access justice.

Immigration detention: "expensive, ineffective and unjust"

The first ever parliamentary inquiry into the use of immigration detention in the UK has published its report today. Finding that we detain far too many people for far too long, the report calls for radical structural change to the system.  

#SetHerFree: a spectrum of solidarity for refugee women

The campaign against detaining refugee women must be part of the movement against violence against women and girls. Agnes Woolley reports from the National Refugee Women’s Conference in London.

Detention knows no borders

The first ever parliamentary inquiry into immigration detention in the UK listened to the voices of 'experts-by-experience' and those still trapped in detention. How will the report in February 2015 reflect the shocking testimony that was heard ?

Like a chicken surrounded by dogs

Scotland may have a different relationship with immigration from the rest of the UK, but at least for now, Dungavel, which has been detaining men and women migrants since 2001, remains open. 

No end to the horrors of detention

The invisibility of immigration detention centres and the trauma of detention has meant that the heavy psychological baggage many migrants bring back with them into UK communities following their release has also gone unseen and unaddressed.

Life after detention

The adverse effects of being detained in an immigration removal centre harm possibilities for reintegration in the country of origin. 

The real cost of detaining migrants

Several years after being rushed out of Tinsley House immigration removal centre near London Gatwick airport, one man still lies hospitalised, unable to move, reliant on the staff to keep him alive. 

Extraordinary things: visiting the women at Yarl’s Wood detention centre

Next door to a Formula 1 car testing zone, hundreds of migrant women are kept behind bars. Heather Jones is a long-term visitor. 

Immigration detention: a most un-British phenomenon

Strict prohibitions against arbitrary detention are a central element in any system that celebrates liberty. It is time to learn the lessons of history and extend this right to migrants. 

Not a minor offence: the unlawful detention of unaccompanied children

Despite pledging to end child detention for immigration purposes in 2010, the UK Government is still quietly locking up children. It’s getting away with it by calling them adults.

Interrupting the implacable: fighting the Detained Fast Track

The UK Court of Appeal will hear an appeal this week over the lawfulness of automatically detaining asylum seekers while their appeals are heard. The era of expansion of this practice is already over and further change is likely. 

Helping the Other: particular experiences, universal outlooks

London’s synagogues have set up drop-in centres for destitute asylum seekers and human rights groups are campaigning to end immigration detention. Shauna Leven and Sam Grant explore how the British Jewish community uses its particular history to motivate its work with migrants in 2014. 

Animals or slaves? Memories of a migrant detention centre

One man tells of his experience of being incarcerated in the UK for three years for being a migrant, and why the memories of violence and conflict in Brook House – where he attempted suicide – will never leave him.

The national shame that is healthcare in UK immigration detention

Four years ago G4S was involved in the unlawful killing of an immigration detainee called Jimmy Mubenga. Now they're winning NHS contracts to care for detainees.

Immigration detention in the media: anarchy and ambivalence

Alongside calls for the reduction or ending of immigration detention, we must demand more balanced coverage from our media. Melanie Griffiths reports on two decades of ‘riots’ and fires inside Campsfield which is on track to become one of the biggest detention centres in Europe.

Migrant vs non-migrant: two tier policing

Growing police engagement in immigration enforcement distorts people’s rights, fosters mistrust and does the police a huge disservice. But the blurred lines that are emerging in London's communities are just part of a more general criminalisation of migrants.

Detained at the UK border: mould, cat calls and barbed wire

Key statutory instruments governing the use of detention do not apply to holding rooms at ports or short term holding facilities. Some 7,000 vulnerable individuals are held each year for up to 7 days in appalling conditions without proper regulation.  

A crisis of harm in immigration detention

A young Guinean woman has become the sixth victim in three years of ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’ in UK immigration detention, with the High Court ruling that detention explicitly caused the disintegration of her mental health.

Foreign national prisoners: the fear of being forgotten

Too often for foreign national prisoners in Britain, the completion of a prison sentence is followed by a period of limbo behind a new set of bars while the state works out what to do next. Labelled 'undeserving', they are largely invisible.

Migrant lives in the UK: the deprivation of liberty

Detention is often seen as a difficult issue and one best avoided, even among those who make it their business to talk about immigration. To mark the first Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention, we are opening a new series which will explore migrant lives out of sight. 

Immigration detention: time for a time limit

The countdown to the UK general election is on, and with a collective push we could yet make change for those still languishing in immigration detention centres on our shores.

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