IRCs and STHFs

Detention centres can be Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) where people are held indefinitely, or "residential short term holding facilities" (STHFs) where they can be held for up to seven days. 

Detainees are also held in non-residential STHFs for up to 24 hours. These facilities are holding rooms in ports or airports. And many hundreds of people are held under immigration acts in mainstream prisons. 

There are seven detention centres, and two residential STHFs (at Manchester Airport and in Larne, Belfast). Part of Colnbrook is used as an STHF, but is not formally an STHF. There is also a unit inside Yarl's Wood which is used for lorry drop cases and operates as a STHF. 

In 2017, part of Tinsley House at Gatwick was converted to  'pre departure accomodation' holding families with children. This replaced the Cedars facility previously used for this purpose.