Alternatives to Detention

Information last updated on January 24, 2019

There is a crisis of harm in immigration detention. The current system is expensive, ineffective and unjust. It destroys lives. We need an immigration system based on cooperation, not coercion, and that respects people’s liberty and justice.

The mass incarceration of migrants does nothing to help the immigration system or to conclude people’s cases with dignity. It destroys trust between the immigration authorities and the individuals and communities affected. The lack of adequate healthcare, restricted legal support and overwhelming emotional distress simply create further barriers to progress in people’s immigration cases.

Working with people on their immigration cases in the community, rather than in detention, produces better outcomes for everybody. If people are afforded their liberty, they have more access to support from family, friends and communities, making it easier to work on their legal case.

High quality case-management has its roots in social work and ensures coordinated support for people with complex needs. When this approach is tailored to meet the needs of the individuals involved, people’s cases can be resolved without the unnecessary harm of detention.

Detention Action has been piloting an alternative to detention for young men who have experienced or are at risk of long-term detention. Find out more about our Community Support Project here.

You can find more information on on alternatives to detention in the following reports:

Detention Action’s Without Detention

Detention Forum’s Frequently Asked Questions.

International Detention Coalition’s There are Alternatives

Women for Refugee Women’s The Way Ahead

Are you in detention? / 0800 587 2096 / How we can help