“Based on humanitarian grounds, it’s unacceptable that Sweden has a system like this,” said Anders Leckne, head of corrections at the Kronoberg remand centre in Stockholm, to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.
In the first six months of this year, 128 people awaiting deportation were placed in remand centres even though they had not committed any crime.
The length of time people were held in remand centres ranged from a few weeks up to 390 days, according to statistics from the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) reviewed by DN.
The Migration Board can hold someone threatened with deportation if the agency believes the person may go into hiding in an attempt to avoid being expelled from the country.
If the agency then believes they may be a risk to themselves, or to others at the Migration Board’s detention centres, people can be placed in a remand centre by a civil servant.
“It’s wrong that a person who feels extreme anxiety ahead of deportation, and who as a result may act up, ends up sitting in solitary confinement 23 hours a day,” said Mats Edsgården of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården) to DN.
The Migration Board’s Niclas Axelsson is part of a commission looking into alternative solutions for how to deal with people set for deportation and admits that the current system leaves room for improvement.
“Placing people in remand centres isn’t an ideal solution,” he told the newspaper.