Who we are

Information last updated on February 26, 2020

Founded in 1993 and originally known as London Detainee Support Group, Detention Action exists to support people held in immigration detention and to campaign for fundamental reform.

We provide practical and emotional support for people who are detained at Colnbrook, Harmondsworth and Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centres, and for people detained under immigration powers in London prisons. We are completely independent from the government and from the detention centres.

We campaign for radical reform of the detention system, including the introduction of a 28-day time limit and the expansion of community-based alternatives.

We work with the Freed Voices group of experts-by-experience to ensure that the voices of those affected are included in any debate about detention.

“The UK has become addicted to enforcement. In 1994, it was exceptional to put someone in detention. In 2017, it is exceptional as a migrant in this country to not experience detention, in one way or another, directly or indirectly.”
Kasonga, Freed Voices

You can support Detention Action by joining one of our campaigns, becoming a  volunteer, or making a donation.

For any other information, please get in touch.

Bella Sankey


Bella joined Detention Action in 2018, having previously worked at Liberty and Reprieve. She oversees our work in providing support for people in detention and in campaigning for fundamental reform.

James Wilson

Deputy Director

James joined Detention Action in 2019 and has a wealth of experience in the sector, including as Director of Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group.

Sally, Maria and Sophie

Advocacy Coordinators

Detention Action’s Advocacy Coordinators oversee our casework support for people being held indefinitely in detention. They help provide emotional and practical support for people in detention and coordinate our network of volunteers.


Office Manager and Campaigns Assistant

Izzie assists with various areas of our campaigns, and ensures the efficient functioning of the Detention Action office – working with the casework team in providing support for people held in detention.


Campaigns Manager

Matthew leads detention Action’s campaigning work and coordinates the Freed Voices group of experts-by-experience.


Community Support Coordinator

Tony runs our Community Support Project, which supports people who have experienced, or are at risk of, long-term detention to live in the community.

Detention Action is registered charity (no. 1065066) and is funded by a range of individuals and organisations including: A B Charitable Trust, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, Bromley Trust, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation,  Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Oak Foundation, Strategic Legal Fund for Young Migrants Managed by ILPA and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

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