Experiences of Being Detained within UK Immigration Removal Centres: A Phenomenological Inquiry

Prof Doc Thesis

Leech, J. 2021. Experiences of Being Detained within UK Immigration Removal Centres: A Phenomenological Inquiry. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.89z9v
AuthorsLeech, J.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Persecution, conflict, famine, globalisation, climate change and human right violations continue to forcibly displace millions of people each year. Detaining people whilst immigration applications are processed is a worldwide practice. The United Kingdom (UK) has one of the largest detention estates in Europe. The health and well-being of detainees in UK detention centres has faced increased scrutiny over the last decade. A paucity in the literature was identified, which provided a rationale to conduct this research, which aimed to investigate the lived experience of people who had been held within an immigration detention centre in the UK. The research was framed through the lens of Counselling Psychology, with a particular emphasis on commitment to engaging with issues of social injustice and inequality through both theoretical and practical actions. The study’s methodology was informed by Max van Manen’s hermeneutic phenomenology. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six people who had previously experienced being detained in a UK Immigration Removal Centre. Emerging themes included: The Violation of Space; Altered Time; Altered Body; Shifting Self and Relationship with the State. The research aims to highlight the experiences of those who have been detained and allow practitioners (Counselling Psychologists and other mental health clinicians) an insight into the impact this experience has on wellbeing. At service level, the research aims to highlight the difficulties detainees face when accessing support and make recommendations for clinical implications and future research.

KeywordsDetention; Detention Centres; Detained; IRC; Qualitative Research
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.89z9v
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Publication dates
Online23 Nov 2021
Publication process dates
Submitted10 Sep 2021
Deposited24 Nov 2021
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License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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