1st Edition

Dignity, Women, and Immigration Detention

By Alice Gerlach Copyright 2023
    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores the experience of immigration enforcement for women who have been detained in immigration detention in the UK. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with women who have been in immigration detention centres, Dignity, Women, and Immigration Detention demonstrates how immigration detention violates women’s sense of dignity and in doing so, causes women to suffer pains that are incongruent with the administrative purpose of immigration removal centres.

    The women interviewed were either detained in an Immigration Removal Centre, had spent time in this centre before being released into the UK community, or had been removed to Jamaica following time in immigration detention. This book argues that the current system used by the UK government is unfit for purpose and damaging to many of those who are ensnared within it. In examining dignity violation, lack of autonomy and diminishment, the book also considers possible alternatives to the current practice of incarceration and what can be done to alleviate the harms that are currently inflicted on women during the process of immigration enforcement in the UK.

    An accessible and compelling read, this book will appeal to students, scholars, and practitioners in criminology, sociology, law, social policy, and all those interested in listening to the unheard voices of detained women.

    Introduction  1.Dignity  2.Detention  3.Release  4.Removal  5.Indignity


    Alice Gerlach is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Oxford Brookes University, UK.

    ‘In this empirically rich account, Alice Gerlach offers extensive evidence of the ways in which immigration detention erodes women’s sense of dignity and self-worth during their confinement and long afterwards. As the use of detention continues to contract in the UK in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, this book spurs us on to roll back this practice altogether. The women’s accounts, which have been sensitively gathered, illuminate the deep pain this practice causes, and its long-term effects.’

    Professor Mary Bosworth, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford

    ‘Within the increasing academic literature on border criminology, there remains limited empirical research on immigration detention, and less still on women’s experiences. Alice Gerlach’s book expertly addresses this substantial gap in knowledge. Drawing on the concept of dignity, this valuable addition to the literature unfolds women’s experiences of the pains of immigration detention, and the challenges of social reintegration following deportation.’

    Dr Hindpal Singh Bhui, HM Inspectorate of Prisons Inspector & Visiting Professor, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford