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From Staff Orientation to Departure: A Study on the Operation of Immigration Detention

NCJ Number
B. van Alphen; T. Molleman; A. Leerkes; J. van Hoek
Date Published
180 pages
This study of the conditions under which illegal immigrants are detained in the Netherlands while awaiting repatriation focuses on detainees' views of their confinement and their repatriation, as well as custodial staff attitudes, so as to determine how the Dutch Special Facilities Directorate (Dutch: Directie Bijzondere Voorzieningen, DBV) can make immigrants' detention more humane and also better prepare them for repatriation.
The study found that the working conditions of the staff contributed to their commitment to a treatment approach for the detainees. Working conditions that motivate staff to provide supportive assistance and positive interaction with detainees include leadership by staff supervisors, cooperative interactions among staff, and safety for staff. Immigrants were more positive about their detention conditions when the staff consists of a high proportion of women and older and more experienced supervisors. In addition to providing humane treatment and safety for immigrant detainees, DBV is also responsible for preparing detainees for their deportation. This research does not show any direct link between the immigrants' perception of the conditions of detention and the development of the willingness to return to their own country. Neither does just and humane treatment while in detention; however, there do seem to be indirect links between the perceived procedural fairness of the detention and the willingness to return to the home country. Apparently improving detainees' perception of their autonomy and freedom within the detention centers can contribute to an increase in their determination to build a better life for themselves in their own country. The study involved a literature review and the administering of separate surveys to detention staff and detainees. 9 tables and 116 references