Freed Voices

Freed Voices are a group of experts-by-experience committed to speaking out about the realities of immigration detention in the UK. Between them, they have lost over 20 years to detention in this country.

“Going to detention is like getting a degree from a university you didn’t enrol in – you are an expert on the issue, whether you like it or not. That lived-experience gives us a unique understanding of the real problems at the root of the detention system that ‘decision-makers’ can never have.” Gabriel, Freed Voices

Why do Freed Voices speak out?

Government policy on detention has gone unchecked for many years because of the way those detained have been portrayed: either as weak, passive victims or as dangerous, ‘foreign criminals’. This has made it easier to silence both detention as an issue and the input of those with lived experience of detention in shaping policies that directly affect them.

Freed Voices speak out to directly challenge the mainstream misconceptions around detention.

Freed Voices speak out as experts on detention, not as ‘case-studies’.

Freed Voices don’t just tell their stories of detention, they demand change in light of them

“Current detention policy does not work for anybody because it has been made in ignorance. It is like a group of old men making policies about abortion. That is why it is vital that experts-by-experience are involved in making changes to detention – we know what we’re talking about.” Michael, Freed Voices

Freed Voices speak out in solidarity with those in detention in the UK and around the world.

Freed Voices speak out because they want an immigration system based on justice, dignity and respect.

Freed Voices speak out because they want to see the walls of detention fall.

“We, the migrants, have become leverage in Government’s bid for votes. Detention is just the place where politicians warehouse their bargaining chips. Only we are not bargaining chips – we are people. And we need a human approach to immigration that reflects that. We need an end to indefinite detention.” Kasonga, Freed Voices

What do the Freed Voices group do?

Despite the growing anti-detention movement, many still don’t know what indefinite detention is or understand the devastating impact it has on individuals, families and communities across the UK.

Freed Voices believe there are a million different ways to speak out and inform the debate – from going live on Newsnight to lobbying MPs face-to-face to facilitating workshops to recording podcasts.

You can see some the Freed Voices group’s most recent activity here.

If you would like a media/research interview with a member of the Freed Voices group or to invite them to come and speak about immigration detention at an event you are hosting, please contact freedvoices@detentionaction.org.uk