The exhibition aims to personalise immigration away from negative headlines about numbers
On average, from 2015 to 2019, 44% of detainees were deported, double the 22% recorded in 2022. AFP News

A recent report from the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) shed light on the trends and concerns within UK immigration detention centres during 2022.

The report revealed that nearly 80 per cent of individuals held in these detention centres were released into the community instead of being deported, marking a significant deviation from the intended purpose of these facilities, which is primarily to prepare individuals for deportation.

The IMB's annual report highlighted a disparity between the intended use of immigration detention and its actual outcomes. The Home Office, responsible for immigration policies, is mandated to detain individuals only when there is a realistic prospect of deportation within a reasonable timeframe.

However, the report outlined that a substantial number of detainees were released due to successful legal challenges or after being assessed as having health issues.

Comparative data from 2015 to 2019, as has been summarised by the government, indicated a stark contrast in deportation rates. The average deportation rate during this period stood at 44 per cent, twice the rate observed in 2022, which was only 22 per cent. This highlighted a notable shift in the deportation dynamics over recent years.

Another concerning trend highlighted in the report was the extended periods of detention faced by some individuals compared to the previous year.

Shockingly, one person had been detained for over three years, while an additional five individuals were held for 180 days. This raised questions about the effectiveness and necessity of prolonged detentions within the immigration system.

Moreover, based on Home Office data the cost of immigration detention per person per night was reported to be £112.85. Despite this expenditure, the government announced plans to expand the capacity of detention facilities to accommodate the controversial policy of removing individuals to Rwanda.

The report also underscored issues related to the treatment of vulnerable detainees. It highlighted a specific incident where seven individuals were scheduled for deportation to Rwanda, only for the plan to be halted at the last minute following intervention from the European Court of Human Rights.

Concerns were raised about the inadequate management of these individuals, compromising their safety and their right to timely and effective legal support. Disturbingly, one individual experienced a panic attack before boarding the flight, yet was still considered fit to fly.

Additionally, inadequate care plans for vulnerable individuals and the use of force on three detainees were noted, leading to visible distress among those taken to the plane.

Furthermore, the report detailed an incident at Heathrow immigration removal centre where a power outage occurred, resulting in the transfer of 506 men to different detention centres. Some detainees were left on coaches for over 18 hours, while others were separated from crucial prescription medication.

The IMB found flaws in the system meant to protect vulnerable detainees, citing instances where individuals assessed as unsuitable for detention due to vulnerabilities were still held, and restraint was used to manage those at risk of self-harm or suicide.

Elisabeth Davies, the national chair of the IMB, stressed the need for local IMBs to actively monitor places of detention, stating: "This report evidences another challenging year in immigration detention and highlights the need for local IMBs to be the eyes and the ears of the general public in places of detention."

Responding to the report, a Home Office spokesperson stressed upon their commitment to the welfare and safety of individuals in their care. They stressed the aim to minimise detention durations while pursuing individuals' removal from the UK to their home country or a safe third country.

Additionally, they highlighted the presence of robust policies and procedures in place to safeguard vulnerable individuals, acknowledging the need for continuous improvement in this regard.