Over 400 migrants and asylum seekers attempted self-harm while held in detention in 2017 – the highest recorded number since government started to keep statistics in 2007. Published figures reveal there were 446 attempts at self harm in detention last year with at least 10 confirmed suicides. The Home Office often fails to publicise deaths in detention or release the name of people who have died.
The UK’s immigration detention estate is the biggest in Europe, holding 2,500-3,500 migrants at any one time. A migrant does not need to have committed a crime to be detained. There are no time limits to the period they can be detained. There are 11 detention centres in the UK, all with their management outsourced to private companies.
Immigration detention is part of the government’s hostile environment policy which targets migrants. Labour has said it will scrap the hostile environment policy, end indefinite detention and close the worst detention centres such as Yarls Wood. The British Medical Association has criticised inadequate healthcare offered to immigration detainees, condemned the use of restraint and segregation and called for immigration detention centres to be closed.