#Unlocked comes to Scotland’s Dungavel

Unlocked image

Throughout Autumn the Detention Forum has been taking people on a virtual tour of the UK’s detention centres. From 7-13 December it’ll be shining its spotlight on Scotland’s Dungavel.

Blog post by Kate Alexander who works for Scottish Detainee Visitors

Dungavel is the only detention centre in Scotland. It is forty-five minutes south of Glasgow, six miles from the nearest village of Strathaven, along a winding country road that cuts through the South Lanarkshire countryside. There, in the middle of nowhere, up to 249 people are detained.

People are brought to Dungavel from all over the UK, taking them far from their families and the social networks they have built up. Dungavel is not on a bus route and the nearest train station is 14 miles away, so for people who want to see their loved ones but have no car, the journey there can be a long and difficult one. And for people coming from other parts of the UK, it usually involves an overnight stay.

As visitors to detainees in Dungavel, my colleagues and I at Scottish Detainee Visitors frequently talk to people whose families and friends are unable to afford to visit them. If it were not for us, they would see nobody apart from other detainees and Dungavel staff for many weeks, sometimes months, or even years.

Anyone who needs permission to enter or remain in the UK and is subject to immigration control can be detained at one of the UK's detention centres. Many detainees have claimed asylum at some point, but people can also be detained if they breach the terms of their work, travel or student visas or have entered the country illegally.

No time limit on immigration detention

Uniquely in Europe, the UK has no time limit on immigration detention.  Unlike people beginning a prison sentence or people being detained under terrorism legislation, people entering Dungavel and places like it have no idea how long they will be there. 

Join the tour online from 7-13 December #Unlocked

The Detention Forum is playing a really important role in lifting the lid on the UK’s detention centres so that we can take a hard look at them. Scotland's Dungavel is the last stop of the Unlocking Detention tour which has been building momentum online throughout the Autumn. The tour will also highlight some of the work of we do through Scottish Detainee Visitors, such as providing practical and emotional support to the men and women held there.

So, if you have experience of Dungavel detention centre, or know someone who has, or simply want to join the conversation and learn more about immigration detention, follow @DetentionForum on Twitter and use #unlocked in your tweets from 7-13 December.

You can also visit the Detention Forum’s 'Unlocking Detention' website for more information: http://unlocked.org.uk/

(1) Comments

  • Jo haythornthwaite
    08 December 2014, 15:59

    I have visited detainees in Dungavel on a number of occasions and so am interested in the subject of detention. I have also acted as a sort of long term telephone friend to a woman who was held in Yarlswood for nearly a year

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