When I was in detention I never knew how long I would be there. That is because Britain detains people indefinitely, which means that they don’t tell you how long you will be there for. Some people it was a few months and for some people it was years. I heard about one man who had been in detention for 9 years!
If I had to choose between being in detention and being in a normal prison I would choose prison, because I would know when I will be free but in detention centres there is no guarantee.
They should give everyone a limit time because all the time families of detainees hope the government and human rights organizations will bring justice to them and release them but this never happens. The first reason detainees give up in there is because there is no time limit. Trust me, people are hopeless and getting older and crazy because there is no time limit. I think it’s very important for detainees to know how long they will be there because then they can promise their children and family about when they are coming out.
One of my friends from our Detention Action group is Jay from Sri Lanka. The Guardian wrote an article about him because they kept him in detention even after he had been in prison and finished his sentence. At one point they were going to deport him to Sri Lanka – he told me that for him: ‘it was horrible, I was very upset because I thought I was going to be deported away from my family and my home.’
From my point of view if UKBA had sent him back it would be crazy for him because when he left his country he was only five and now he is 28 and he never went anywhere outside UK. His life is built here, this is his own country. All his family are here and they are British! How do people feel when they lose some one close to them? And you know he told me ‘when my mum was visiting me in detention she was always crying, getting crazy, helpless and hopeless because when a son is taken away from a mother, how does it feel?!’
In detention they call you in for a ‘legal’ visit. It’s very scary because you don’t know if they will give you a ticket (removal directions) or something else. So one day they called me in and I was scared but they just said ‘you can go.’ Of course, I was very happy to go, but I don’t know why they didn’t say to me at the start ‘we will keep you here for 3 months.’ Then I could have made some plans for my future and told my friends. Instead I just got depressed in there because I felt there was no hope.
Information about Detention Action’s campaign to end indefinite detention in UK.