How long are people detained?

Unlike the rest of Europe, the UK has no time limit on how long someone can be detained. Government guidelines say that detention should be used sparingly and for the shortest period necessary. In reality, however, people are often imprisoned for long periods – for months and sometimes for years.

Understandably, this de-humanising situation makes people feel frightened, isolated and depressed. They have no idea what is going to happen to them or when.