Outside the Rules: How Immigration Detainees in Prison Are Let Down

Unlike those held in Immigration Removal Centres (IRC’s), immigration detainees in prison are not permitted a mobile phone or internet access and face significant obstacles accessing lawyers, charities, and Home Office caseworkers. And if that isn’t bad enough, immigration detainees in prison are also denied the basic safeguards afforded to those in IRC’s. The safeguards, found in the Detention Centre Rules are crucial in preventing vulnerable people from being held in detention.

Rule 35 is especially important. Under this rule, doctors are required to assess whether a detainee is particularly vulnerable in detention, and to send a report of the assessment to the Home Office. The doctors look especially at special illnesses and conditions, including mental health issues as well as a history of torture, sexual abuse or trafficking. These reports can either result in the Home Office taking the initiative to release the individual, or can help lawyers obtain both release and compensation on the basis that they were unlawfully detained.

Read more: Duncan Lewis,

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