Joint committee on human rights says people should be held for no longer than 28 days

Indefinite detention in immigration centres is traumatic and the practice should be stopped, with people ideally held for no longer than 28 days, a parliamentary committee has recommended.

In a highly critical report, the joint committee on human rights (JCHR), made up of MPs and peers, described the UK’s immigration system as “slow, unfair and expensive to run”, and said detention should be authorised only by decision-makers independent of the Home Office.

The decision to detain should not be made by the Home Office but by officials or judges working for an independent body.

A 28-day time limit to end the “trauma” of indefinite detention should be introduced. In “exceptional circumstances”, when detainees frustrate removal attempts, the Home Office should be able to apply to a judge for a further period of detention of no more than an additional 28 days.

Detainees should have better access to legal aid and advice to challenge detention. Foreign nationals liable to deportation at the end of prison sentences should not have to wait until they are in immigration detention to begin a challenge.

Vulnerable individuals in immigration detention should be identified earlier and treated appropriately.

The Home Office should improve oversight and inspection of conditions in detention centres to “ensure that any ill-treatment or abuse is found out immediately”.

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