PRESS RELEASE: “Every day is like torture”: Solitary confinement & Immigration detentionSunday, July 11th, 2021
New research published today by Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) and Medical Justice documents the devastating impact upon immigration detainees in prisons of conditions amounting to indefinite solitary confinement.
People held for immigration reasons (including torture survivors and those with serious vulnerabilities) are locked in their cells for over 22 hours a day, most often 23.5, with people sometimes being held in their cells for days at a time and unable to take a shower. Some are self-harming, attempting suicide and unable to sleep or eat. They report existing in a state of endless despair. Physical symptoms include involuntary shaking, memory loss and physical pain. As one man told us:
“I didn’t enter prison with mental health problems but I’m not the same person I was. My mind is not the same. I’m not sure if what has happened to be can be repaired.”
“It just feels illegal because of what it’s doing to my mind and body. If this isn’t breaching my rights, then what will? It’s as though I’ve fallen into a crack that the Home Office opened and I can’t get out.”
The research released today is based on interviews with 5 immigration detainees and on medico-legal reports produced by doctors, as well as reviews of case files that argue for the release of people held in prolonged confinement – either solitarily or with a cell-mate.