It was sobering to see the reports in the press recently highlighting the fact that the number of people detained in immigration detention facilities increased sharply in the last year.

The amount increased to 2,987 in the year ending September 2022 – a rise of 231%, according to recently released figures from the Home Office.

Another increase took place in the number of immigration detainees held in HM prisons, with the figure hitting a six-year high of 3,343. The total is the highest since the data on prisons was included in the Home Office’s published detention summaries.

Together with the opening of a a new detention centre at Hassockfield in the North East, and the proposed re-openings of the detention centres at Campsfield in Oxfordshire and Haslar in Hampshire, it is a challenging time for people campaigning against the use of immigration detention in this country having built up so much momentum for change in recent years.

But our Forum, now at over 50 independent members from across the country, has never been stronger. At our recent members’ meeting we agreed plans for a new campaign for our network where we work together for a vision of an asylum and immigration system that does not need this unhealthy reliance on locking people up. Watch this space. You will hear much more from us over the next few months!