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Misery as Business: How Immigration Detention Became a Cash-Cow in Britain’s Borders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarketisation and Privatisation in Criminal Justice
Publisher or commissioning bodyUniversity of Bristol Press
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Oct 2019


In this chapter, we wish to advance the knowledge of the workings of Britain’s hostile border regime by unpacking the financial dynamics involved. To do so, we will primarily focus on one aspect: the privatisation and expansion of Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs). We argue that, not only these spaces by their very nature coercive and violent, but they also benefit from migrant misery as a business model. Therefore, the attention on outsourcing of migration control helps us understand the profits attached to the forced confinement of racialised and criminalised bodies, profits that are generated through human suffering, while simultaneously diminishing accountability and unmediated (often hidden) state-corporate violence. Moreover, once we scratch the surface of bordered profiteering we find that a double standard exists: whilst successive governments decry migrant labour in the UK, the same governments are more than willing to engage with multi-national corporations and thus become answerable to foreign capitalist interests elsewhere.



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