‘They’re still adding more pain on me’; psychische klachten na vreemdelingendetentie

Translated title of the contribution: ‘They’re still adding more pain on me’; psychological effects of immigration detention

Ragna Boerma, Geert E. Smid, Imma Van Galen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Downloads (Pure)


Background: In the Netherlands, people without a valid residence permit can be detained in immigration detention in order to keep them available for repatriation. International literature shows that immigration detention has a negative impact on psychological health, but little is known about the experience of people in Dutch immigration detention centers.
Aim: In this qualitative study we describe the experience of people who have been detained in immigration detention in the Netherlands and the impact it has had on their psychological health.
Method: We interviewed 9 patients who were treated for posttraumatic stress disorder at ARQ Centrum’45 and who had previously been detained in immigration detention. Interviewed were transcribed, coded and analyzed thematically.
Results: The following themes emerged: not knowing what to expect, being treated as a criminal, the expectation of protection in the Netherlands, and retraumatization. These perceptions led to fear, hopelessness, shame, anger, and suicidality. Many participants had been in solitary confinement during detention, which had worsened their psychological health.
Conclusion: Immigration detention was described as extremely disruptive and caused psychological harm. The circumstances of immigration detention should be improved by using clearer communication about the reason and duration of detention, a less prison-like approach, and by eliminating solitary confinement.
Translated title of the contribution‘They’re still adding more pain on me’; psychological effects of immigration detention
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)139-144
JournalTijdschrift voor Psychiatrie
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Cite this