Academics, Activists and Policy-makers
Edited by Michael J. Flynn and Matthew B. Flynn
Chapter 3: Immigration detention and penal power: a criminological perspective
There is increasing convergence between criminal and immigration law as states respond to international migration by erecting and enforcing tougher visa and border controls, leading to a surge in the numbers of foreign nationals in prison and immigration detention. The chapter draws on research conducted in a number of immigration removal centres in the United Kingdom to examine insights from the discipline of criminology in explaining and critiquing these developments. Although criminology has been slow to respond to border control, over the last decade an increasing number of scholars have begun focusing on this issue. Their work demonstrates the rich, critical heritage that the discipline brings to the study of immigration detention and the insights that have been gained as a result. Long accustomed to investigating coercive state practices, criminologists are particularly well positioned to gain access to these contested border sites and engage critically with policy makers. By comparing immigration detention to imprisonment, criminologists can hone in on its paradoxes and inconsistencies, challenge its rationale and legitimacy and highlight how it fails to meet traditional expectations of justice.
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