New briefing on immigration prisons

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The Foreword

The government's decision to end child detention for immigration purposes in 2010 was the result of long years of campaigning by dedicated grassroots activists, as well as detainee support groups, NGOs and mainstream media. The end of this cruel and inhumane practice has, however, served to somehow legitimise the detention of adults. Fewer people now appear to have the political will to argue that immigration detention should be stopped altogether.

Using Yarl’s Wood, where most of those children and their families were incarcerated, as a case study, this briefing is intended to demonstrate that the impact of immigration prisons on adult refugees and migrants is no less cruel, inhumane and, in many cases, unlawful.

The authors of this briefing believe that no matter what findings and recommendations such reports may make, the immigration authorities will not listen, much less act, unless they are compelled to. As the references and sources of this briefing show, there have been tens of similar reports highlighting these same issues. What has come out of these reports? Unfortunately very little, except for superficial 'improvements' here and there, often to make the detention system more efficient.

The institutional racism inherent in the immigration and asylum regime, supported by racist political rhetoric and mainstream media coverage and coupled with the cost-cutting policies of the profit-driven contractors running these immigration prisons, often make it difficult for many ordinary people to see what's wrong with this system. But many do and will continue to fight for real justice.

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