In two ESRC IAA knowledge exchange projects, Dr Hindpal Bhui, inspection team leader at HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), and HMIP’s lead on immigration detention, worked with Professor Mary Bosworth and the Border Criminologies research group to help build a mutual understanding of and shine light on sites often hidden from the world – immigration detention centres.

The pilot project, undertaken during 2016 and 2017, aimed to investigate the conditions in immigration detention and the nature of human-rights based detention monitoring in four countries affected by large scale migration, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Hungary. Working together we sought to understand the political and migration policy context, the structure of and conditions in detention, and the way that detention was being used. Most importantly, we sought to understand the structure and history of the National Preventive Mechanisms, how they were monitoring immigration detention and what they felt would help to improve the impact and outcomes of their work. You can read the final report from this project here

The second phase of the project developed this exploratory work.  It focused in more detail on Greece in particular, but also Turkey and Italy. The project built on the work already done to foster direct engagement and exchange visits among practitioners and academics. In so doing, we hoped not only to better understand what is happening, but also to contribute to evidence-based practice, drawing on best practice and encouraging critical reflection and development. Part of this project was to create briefing papers to bring a range of actors into dialogue to explore the potential for social change and for creating channels of accountability in the detention infrastructure. You can read the briefing papers and reports from this project here, here, here and here.

These projects were funded by Oxford's ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

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