Challenging Immigration Detention
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Challenging Immigration Detention

Academics, Activists and Policy-makers

Edited by Michael J. Flynn and Matthew B. Flynn

Immigration detention is an important global phenomenon increasingly practiced by states across the world in which human rights violations are commonplace. Challenging Immigration Detention introduces readers to various disciplines that have addressed immigration detention in recent years and how these experts have sought to challenge underlying causes and justifications for detention regimes. Contributors provide an overview of the key issues addressed in their disciplines, discuss key points of contention, and seek out linkages and interactions with experts from other fields.
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Chapter 5: Inspecting immigration detention: Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons

Hindpal Singh Bhui

Abstract

The chapter discusses the work of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), a government-appointed independent human rights-based institution responsible for monitoring prisons and detention centres in the UK. It places the discussion of immigration detention inspection in the broader context of prison reform and debates about migration control. The author, an HMIP inspection team leader, argues that in liberal-democratic societies there are two broad approaches to promoting reforms and challenging abuses: working from the inside to achieve progress with the risk that principles may be compromised and good intentions confounded; or promoting change from the outside, which is more uncompromising but less influential, at least in the short term. This dilemma confronts human rights-based inspection of immigration detention in the UK. The main focus of HMIP is on improving the treatment of detainees and conditions in detention, not challenging the system, even if immigration detention arguably lacks legitimacy in a way that criminal imprisonment does not. The author explores the “effectiveness” of detention inspection and whether it has led to meaningful change.

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