GDP News & Publications

              • Film festival: The Global Detention Project, with support from the United Nations Children's Fund, participated in the 4th International Crime and Punishment Film Festival, held in Istanbul on 7-14 November. The theme of this year's festival was migration. The GDP's contribution included co-hosting a showing of the award-winning documentary film Vol special (Special Flight), which was followed by a panel discussion between the GDP's Michael Flynn and the the film's director Fernand Melgar. Also, as part of the festival's academic program, Flynn gave a presentation entitled "Children in Immigration Detention: A Hidden Problem." Information about the festival is available here.
              • Press Release: On 29 October 2014 the Global Detention Project announced its relaunching as an independent research centre. For more information see the press release.
              • CINETS Network: On 10 October Izabella Majcher presented a paper titled “European Union Immigration Detention Regime: A Manifestation of Crimmigration?” at the second CINETS conference  "Borders of Crimmigration," in Leiden, Netherlands.
              • Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network: On 3 September, Izabella Majcher gave a presentation titled "Measuring Immigration Detention: An Introduction to the Global Detention Project's Data Design and Methodology" at the 5th Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights, Bangkok, Thailand.


              "The [new U.S. House of Representatives government funding bill] adds 2,000 agents at border ports and mandates that Immigration and Customs Enforcement 'maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds through September 30, 2014.' This represents, at a cost of 2.8 billion, 'the highest detention capacity in history.' It is mindless to keep throwing billions at border enforcement and detention at a time when illegal immigration [in the United States] is at historic lows. ... Why make the people who run a vast and expensive law-enforcement apparatus responsible for keeping prison beds warm rather than communities safe--especially when there are low-cost alternatives to detention that don't involve fattening the bottom lines of for-profit prison corporations?"
              New York Times, 20 January 2014

              “[Immigration] detention is the opposite of criminalization in the sense that it is putting people in prison without using the criminal process. ... The present system we have is one of administrative discretion that allows a vast amount of detention to go on without any proper rules of law and oversight. If there is going to be detention it should be criminal rather than administrative. That would make it much harder to detain. Governments would have to rethink because the criminal process is just a lot more difficult, and more costly, and more demanding.”
              Dan Wilsher, Presentation at the Graduate Institute, 8 March 2012.



              "Allowing the private sector to run immigration detention will mean ... an ever increasing number of people coming into the system and staying there longer ... as companies seek to maintain and expand their markets."

              Stephen Nathan, Presentation at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, 2 March 2010


              Featured Countries



              Germany’s immigration detention policies contrast sharply with those of its EU neighbours: It makes widespread use of prisons and it places authority over immigration matters in the hands of regional authorities. The decentralized nature of this system presents important challenges in getting comprehensive information about detention practices and establishing accountability. For instance, federal authorities often claim that they do not have statistics on immigration detention and some regional authorities have claimed that information about this issue is “sensitive.” Germany’s detention policies were the subject of recent ground-breaking legal cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union, which ruled that Germany cannot rely on the fact that there are no dedicated detention facilities in a given Land to justify keeping non-citizens in prison pending their removal. On the other hand, the number of detainees in the county has sharply fallen in recent years. One official told the Global Detention Project, “There are important discussions going on right now in Germany about whether we should be detaining immigrants at all.”


              View the entire profile




              Located between impoverished and politically volatile countries to the south and Israel and Europe to the north, Egypt has long been an important destination and crossing point for international migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean region. Since the onset of conflicts in Syria and Gaza, the country has also become an important destination for Syrian nationals and Palestinians. Wracked by its own internal political turmoil, Egypt's response to these migration pressures has a times been characterized by violence and arbitrariness. According to unofficial sources, thousands of Africans, many trafficked in the Sinai by Bedouin tribes, have disappeared in recent years, some of whom were later found confined in Egyptian jails. Syrians, who were initially welcomed by Egypt, now find themselves frequently detained in police stations. And Palestinians fleeing the devastation wrought by Israeli bombing have reportedly been shot at and arrested by police as they attempt to leave Egyptian shores in smuggling boats heading for Europe. The legal status of detainees is often unclear as they shift between criminal and administrative forms of custody. The Global Detention Project estimates that nearly 60 detention facilities, nearly all of them either prisons or police cells, have been used in recent years for immigration-related detention.


              View the entire profile




              Tunisia’s 2011 Jasmine Revolution was meant to usher in a new era of political openness in the country. However, foreigners in the country, particularly those from sub-Saharan Africa, face endemic racism as well as little or no possibility of seeking asylum because the country has yet to adopt a refugee protection regime. Compounding matters, the government continues to maintain secrecy over where foreigners are being detained and does not provide any statistics on the numbers of people detained or deported. Despite these short-comings, the European Union has recently brokered an agreement with the country that eventually could lead to thousands of third-country nationals being deported to Tunisia, where they will in all likelihood be subject to detention.


              View the entire profile