Session 7: Carceral continuum

13:30-15:00    Session 7: Carceral continuum Chair: Olivier Milhaud 

Pains of imprisonment beyond prison walls: Lived experience of females labelled not criminally responsible Anouk Mertens (National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology, Belgium) and Freya Vander Laenen (Ghent University, Department of Criminology, Criminal Law and Social Law, Belgium) 

Within the carceral geography movement, research mainly focuses on carceral spaces separately, such as prisons and asylum centres, rather than studying different types of closed institutions within the same empirical research (Schliehe, 2014). In this presentation, we discuss the results of a follow-up study on lived experiences of females labelled not criminally responsible (FNCR). During phase one, interviews (n=51) gave us an in-depth insight into the experienced deprivations in prison facilities in Belgium. During the follow-up interviews (n=42) with these women, a minority was still in prison facilities, while others were transferred to forensic and general mental health care facilities. This way, lived experiences on different spaces with carceral features could be studied. It became apparent that, while the pains of imprisonment (Sykes, 1958) were so far only associated with prison facilities in the academic literature, some imprisonment pains were also experienced in secure closed care settings. In the latter, participants sometimes even felt more deprived than participants in prison facilities (more restrictions of their liberty and autonomy, e.g. a loss of previously enjoyed (penitentiary) leaves). We can conclude that in particular forensic mental health care facilities can also be considered as carceral spaces.

Immigration reporting in the UK: Spaces and politics of indistinction in the carceral continuum Deirdre Conlon (School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK) and Andrew Burridge (Department of Geography and Planning, Macquarie University Sydney, Australia)  

Immigration enforcement regimes epitomise the intertwined tensions between space/place and movement as enforcement regimes enlist an array of spaces, actors, and activities in the effort to include and exclude people. With good reason, some facets of this carceral continuum (such as migrant deaths at sea, violent enforcement at borders, encampments, and immigration detention) have garnered considerable attention among critical migration scholars and carceral geographers. In contrast, more banal sites and practices of enforcement have received considerably less attention, to date. As interest in alternatives to immigration detention grows, use of mandated regular ‘reporting’ to immigration authorities by non-detained migrants or as a condition of release from detention is expanding. In the UK, for instance, approximately 84,000 migrant individuals are required to report to Home Office authorities at regular intervals (2018 figures). Reporting occurs across an array of sites; some are embedded within the immigration enforcement estate, others are almost indistinguishable from the post-industrial urban/exurban landscape. In this paper we detail some of the characteristics of these (extra)ordinary spaces; we consider how they are experienced by those required to report and perceived (or concealed) from the general public; finally, we conceptualize reporting as a space and politics of indistinction where tensions between space and movement operate at micro and macro levels, and where inclusion and exclusion constitute another carceral continuum with potentially far reaching implications beyond migrants and/or immigration enforcement regimes. As such, this paper engages with themes one and two of this year’s conference, addressing how space and movements are intertwined and exploring some of the concrete and political characteristics of contemporary carceral space.

Refugee camp rescaled: City as a confinement space for refugees in Turkey Mert Peksen (Graduate Center, City University of New York, United States)

This paper analyzes the political geography of Turkish asylum system by focusing on policies and practices through which Turkish towns have become confinement spaces for refugees. It interrogates the complex relationship between refugee status, legality, confinement, and urban space. Turkey currently hosts around 3.6million Syrian refugees under temporary protection and around 400,000 asylum-seekers and refugees from other countries. Instead of granting a single refugee status that is based on the 1951 Geneva Convention, Turkey governs these refugee groups by constructing multiple tiers of protection statuses (temporary, conditional, secondary), thus creating a differentiated and limited asylum regime. One of the key components of this regime is that it strictly limits refugees’ mobilities within and through Turkey. Policies such as registration requirements, travel permissions and weekly reporting obligations are employed to keep refugees where they are. Moreover, refugees’ access to humanitarian services and social benefits is conditional upon continued residence in the city of registration. Most often, refugees are deprived of their rights just because of residing in a city that is different from the one that they are initially registered, and they are pushed to the edges of legality, even within the country where they are officially recognized as refugees. Drawing on long-term ethnographic study of asylum in Turkey, this paper 1) analyzes the pivotal role that the Turkish asylum laws and regulations play in creating refugee subjects who constantly move between legality and illegality just by being mobile within the country, and 2) argues that the Turkish asylum regime scales up the refugee camp to the urban scale and turns Turkish towns into confinement spaces for refugees.