AVID Training
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You can be detained in a prison if you do not have British citizenship status and have served a sentence of 12 months or more. If this is the case, you will automatically be considered for deportation (this policy was introduced by the UK Borders Act 2007) and can remain in prison under immigration powers at the end of your custodial sentence.

If you are held in prison under immigration powers, you should have the same privileges and rights as people in prison on remand. This grants you greater access to telephone calls, visits and other privileges.  

You are also entitled to 30 minutes of free legal advice. Unlike Immigration Removal Centres, the Legal Aid Agency does not provide free immigration advice surgeries making this advice difficult to access. To get advice, you can call a law firm with a legal aid contract, explain that you are being held in prison under immigration powers and (if they agree) make arrangements to receive 30 minutes free legala dvice. A list of legal aid providers should be made available by the prison and is available here on this flyer from Migrants Organise.

Some AVID visitors groups visit in prisons:

Visit the Map section of this website for details of these groups.

Other organisations who can help:

  • Bail for Immigration Detainees has a dedicated prisons legal team and regularly produce materials to help people detained in prison. They have created this     resource for people detained in prison and this resource on how to apply for exceptional case funding.
  • Clink's Directories contains information about over 800 organisations and projects working with people with experience of the criminal justice system and their families. Enter a place name, organisation, or use the search filters provided to find the service you need.
  • Hibiscus can provide help women detained in prison under immigration powers.
  • Captain Support UK is a grassroots organisation which works in solidarity with all people criminalised for crossing borders or facilitating freedom of movement. The collective provides practical solidarity to people in prison and post-release who have been arrested because of “illegal immigration/facilitating illegal immigration.”
  • The Prison Reform Trust has a Prisoners Families Helpline who can give advice to families and advice on booking visits.
  • Kent Refugee Help supports refugees and migrants held in London and Kent prisons. They help people access legal advice and representation to fight their case and stand with them throughout.
  • Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants may be able to represent people who are detained in prison, whether serving their criminal sentences or detained under immigration powers. They can be contacted on 020 7251 8708.

Extra blogs to read: 

We are regularly contacted by people asking for help from prisons, unfortunately there are few visitors groups in mainstream prisons. If you are interested in helping to set one up, do get in touch.

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