Content warning: torture.

This contribution comes from the Life After Detention group (LAD) based in Glasgow and facilitated by Scottish Detainee Visitors. Between them, members of LAD have lost 4 years and 8 months of their lives to detention. The first part, ‘Because of Detention’, reflects on the ongoing devastation caused by indefinite detention. The second, ‘In spite of detention’, highlights the more positive aspects of building a life after detention, though still in the shadow of it. 

Because of detention

Because of detention I have lost my way forever

Because of detention I experienced fear, disrespect, feeling absolutely hopeless, pressure, sadness, sickness and some kind of disability that I never had felt in all my life

Because of detention I was always waiting, waiting, waiting…

Because in  detention male officers came and looked at us at night,  I can’t sleep, I’m scared

Because of detention my future is broken

Because of detention my family is broken. My relationship didn’t survive and now I only see my son twice a month

Because of detention I am a nervous wreck, terrified of the authorities.

Because of detention my life changed.  Not knowing when I would get out took away my mental health, my confidence, my hope

Because of detention I lost all my belongings, including the only photos I had of my late father

Because of detention, I am sick; really really sick.  I am not who I was three years ago

Because of detention I was constantly reminded of the torture in prison in my own country

Because of detention I can’t sleep for a week before signing at the Home Office in Glasgow

Because of detention I am always terrified of being detained again

The 10 people in our group were detained for a total of four years and eight months.

That is 1,709 days that none of us can get back again.

41,000 hours of life, simply, lost.

And for what?

In spite of detention

In spite of detention, I found my partner and feel I have been given a good life. We’ll get married. Now I have a gift from God. It’s a little angel.

I like learning English.

I have a diamond on my finger!

In spite of detention, my life is good. I keep myself busy. I volunteer every week, go to English classes and attend church on Sundays.

When I go to the Home Office to sign I am scared, as I remember detention; this stops me sleeping at night

Life in detention is very hard. Life after detention is good, if the Home Office don’t put you back again

In spite of detention I go to college. I like studying

I like to meet people in Glasgow

I water tomatoes

I go to church

I like to drink a lot of tea

I feed frogs!

In spite of detention I have made new friends; we share food and stories. We laugh. I see people building a new life despite everything; I see strength, bravery and determination

In spite of detention I now I go to different social groups like LAD. I have made many friends. God blessed me with two beautiful daughters. They are my whole asset. I have built up a family life stronger than ever before.

In spite of detention I volunteer with three charities

I go for walks in the park

I meet new people in Glasgow

I am going to make a new life for myself

I have plans to be successful

In spite of detention, my friends have regained their smile

They have managed to start a life in Glasgow

They found hope again

They fell in love with Scotland

Detention made me stronger than before. I now have confidence to deal with people; to deal with everything