The UK detains more migrants for longer periods than any other country in Europe. 29,655 people left detention in 2014. While 53% of them were removed from the UK, 47% were released, begging the question - why were they held in the first place?In 2014, over 670 volunteer visitors made up the 21 groups that are part of AVID, visiting around 2,000 detainees a year. AVID upholds the human dignity and well-being of immigration detainees. They do this by voicing the concerns of those detained, their member groups and the nationwide network of visitors, and by supporting and coordinating visiting nationally. Throughout 2014, between 600-1,000 immigration detainees were held in mainstream UK prisons, despite international criticism of the use of prison for this purpose. Unlike detention centres, detainees held in prisons don’t have access to the internet or mobile phones, and access to independent legal advice is even more difficult. AVID is currently receiving more letters from detainees in prisons than ever before, asking for help and support, with no one else to turn to.
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