Detention Forum is a network of organisations working together to challenge the UK’s use of detention.

Why are we so agitated about immigration detention?

It’s because immigration detention is not the answer for anyone. In the UK today, people are detained without a time limit, for months, sometimes even years. It is harmful and expensive. It robs people of their dignity, spirit and lives. We need to work towards an immigration system that is based on fairness not force and alternatives to detention that are accountable and allow people to contribute to society.

In December 2012, we agreed on our common advocacy objectives and produced a strategy document. Since then, through the work of our Working Groups and also collectively, we have made immigration detention a mainstream topic that the UK government cannot ignore. We have hosted a number of parliamentary meetings on immigration detention and worked across the UK with a number of like-minded organisations.

In 2014 and 2015, the Detention Forum supported the first ever parliamentary inquiry into the use of immigration detention. The cross-party inquiry panel concluded that the UK detains far too many people for far too long and the UK government must overhaul its immigration detention practice, starting with the introduction of a 28-day time limit on immigration detention.

How we work

We meet every quarter in central London to discuss our overall direction, strategies and share information so that we can collaborate as much as possible not just with other members but also with other groups beyond the Detention Forum. We recently reviewed our ways of working.

Our work follows our Theory of Change 2017-2020 document. We are currently developing our new theory of change.

The Detention Forum’s day-to-day work is overseen by a voluntary Co-ordination Group whose members, together with Project Director, lead policy, parliamentary, campaigning and communications work.

How to get involved

We are keen to hear from organisations and groups who are ready to question and challenge detention, and value the unique contributions of and collaboration with other organisations who are equally concerned about detention and want to be a part of our network.

If you are interested in joining the Detention Forum, please get in touch with us at the email address below. The membership application form is here. You might want to attend one of our meetings as an observer first, before deciding whether to join or not. Members receive copies of our minutes.

The Detention Forum is hosted the Refugee Council. It has a Project Director who works one to two days a week and several volunteers who manage our Twitter account.  If you are interested in volunteering for us, please follow us on Twitter so that you know when we are recruiting new volunteers. We ask all volunteers to stay with us at least for five months.

For further information, please contact us at jonathan.detentionforum(at) or via Twitter @DetentionForum

We are a member of International Detention Coalition and PICUM.

We have very little capacity and are unable to respond to any requests for interviews or offer assistance to students’ research.