Independent Inspector criticises UKBA’s culture where “detention is ‘the norm’”

Independent Inspector criticises UKBA’s culture where “detention is ‘the norm’”

27 October 2011

The Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency has today published a report which is highly critical of UKBA’s routine use of detention to manage foreign national prisoners who have already finished their prison sentences. 

The report A thematic inspection of how the UK Border Agency manages foreign national prisoners is based on the examination of case files, interviews with UKBA staff members and review of UKBA policy and procedures on handling foreign national prisoners’ cases. 

The inspection of the sample files found that, of people at the end of their sentences whom UKBA was trying to deport, 97% remained incarcerated either in prisons or Immigration Removal Centres. 

It also found that “(t)he average length of detention had increased from 143 days in February 2010 to 190 days in January 2011, and 27 per cent of all foreign national prisoners who were detained after their custodial sentence had been detained for longer than 12 months.” (page 3)

While acknowledging the complexity of decision making UKBA might be faced with, the report nevertheless states that “the sheer weight of cases resulting in detention is of concern and, in our view, there remains a culture that detention is ‘the norm’” (page 22).            

In January 2012, The Detention Forum will be hosting a talk by John Vine, Independent Chief Inspector of the UKBA, on  the forthcoming inspection report on the Detained Fast Track.  If you would like to be kept informed, please contact Eiri Ohtani at detentionforum(at)