A new website, Detention Logs, has been launched by a group of investigative journalists from The Guardian AustraliaNew Matilda and the Global Mail, making available a dataset of over 7,000 incidents that occurred within Australia’s network of immigration detention centres between October 2009 to May 2011. Obtained from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) through a Freedom of Information request, the data, which is fully downloadable, includes the records and information pertaining to each case.

Villawood Immigration Detention Centre, Sydney Photograph from Allvoices.com
Events are rated in seriousness as minor, major or critical. They range from complaints to major disturbances, and include accidents and medical emergencies. Most are listed as recorded by ‘service provider staff.’ The location of the incidents varies and includes interview rooms, hospital beds, detention centre kitchens and airports.

As with the contract, signed between Serco and DIAC, parts of which were also obtained by New Matilda through a Freedom of Information request in Australia two years ago, the detention logs reveal potential new avenues of inquiry. We would love to hear from others who have used similar strategies in gathering information about border control. What are the strengths and what are some costs of using this technique?