Riotous refugees or systemic injustice? A sociological examination of riots in Australian immigration detention centres

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Journal Article
Journal of Refugee Studies, 2014, 27 (3), pp. 382 - 402
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© The Author 2013. This article draws on testimony from refugees formerly held in Australian immigration detention centres who either participated in or witnessed riots in detention, alongside academic literature examining riots in a range of settings, to elucidate how and why riots happen in immigration detention. The article outlines a model of contextualizing and immediate preconditions for riots and then uses this model to analyse a series of riots which occurred in Australian immigration detention centres between 1999 and 2011. The author proposes that conditions in immigration detention centres almost guarantee riots and that while practices such as arbitrary use of solitary confinement and excessive use of force commonly act as the immediate triggers to riot episodes, the daily regimen of detention produces the preconditions necessary for riots to occur.
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