Every year in the UK, some 30,000 people are detained in immigration removal centres (IRCs), known colloquially as ‘detention centres’. At any one time, about 2,700 people are held, according to government statistics. Many detainees are deported within a few weeks of being detained, but some are held for longer. People can be held indefinitely in immigration removal centres,’ says Emma Ginn, director of Medical Justice, a charity that provides independent medical advice to immigration detainees and advocates their rights. ‘Immigration detention is not part of any criminal sentence.