Low-Trust Policing in a High-Trust Society: The Norwegian Police Immigration Detention Centre and the Search for Public Sphere Legitimacy
Nordisk Politiforskning, volume 3, no 2-2016 p. 181–198
18 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2016
Date Written: 2016
Immigration detention centres are often highly controversial institutions. They are frequently criticized for being too high-security and too prison-like, and they are therefore seen as unfit to hold a population of people who have done nothing wrong apart from searching out a new life for themselves and their families in a new country. According to critics, they are prisons for people that do not belong in prisons. This paper will discuss aspects of the ongoing negotiations over legitimacy that have taken place within and surrounding the Norwegian Police Immigration Service Detention Centre. Based on a reading of publicly available texts about the detention centre (newspaper articles, op-ed pieces, monitoring board reports, court decisions, etc.) as well as four months of fieldwork in the centre in 2013, I will show how the institution has responded actively to criticism in order to strengthen the legitimacy of Norwegian immigration detention.
Keywords: immigration detention, prisons, legitimacy, Norway
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