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Immigration Act Detainees In Prison

Volume 621: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2001

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Which prisons are currently being used to hold asylum seekers; and how many are being held in each. [HL434]

The requested information is contained within a monthly table provided as deposited papers that are placed in the Library on a monthly basis. The most recent table shows the number of detainees as at 31 December 2000. A copy of this table is provided aside for ease of reference.These figures include all those persons detained in prisons exclusively under Immigration Act powers, not just asylum seekers. No-one is detained solely because they have made an application for asylum. These figures are not recorded in such a way as to identify those who are held pending deportation or those serving a sentence following criminal conviction, who may have applied for asylum at some point.

asked Her Majesty's Government:What are the criteria which are used in making decisions to hold asylum seekers in prisons. [HL435]

The power to detain in designated places of detention, including prisons, are contained in the Immigration Act. Detention criteria are set out in the White Paper Fairer, faster, firmer. Where the decision to detain an individual has been made, he is allocated a detention space. No one is detained solely because he has made an application for asylum.The Government accept that there will always be the need to use prisons for Immigration Act detainees. This is for reasons of security, control, geographical constraints and availability of space. Prisons will also be used for those prisoners subject to deportation at the end of a prison sentence and those Immigration Act detainees who may need the particular healthcare facilities at a prison.