Alternatives to Detention

Children are, first and foremost, children and should be treated in full accordance with international law regarding child rights.


In response to the increased government and stakeholder interest in alternatives to immigration detention, research has been conducted to determine humane, cost effective and reliable management strategies for cross-border migration.

Alternatives to Detention (ATD) are any mechanism that can avoid the use of immigration detention and enables individuals to reside and be managed in the community. There are child-sensitive alternatives to detention, which include measures that comprehensively protect the rights of children based on consideration of their best interests.

Alternatives are more affordable, with research showing they are up to 80% cheaper than detention, reducing litigation, overcrowding and unnecessary long-term and wrongful detention.

Alternatives support wellbeing and uphold human rights, and they have also been shown to be successful at managing migration, with effective case resolution in the community, showing up to 95% appearance rates and up to 69% voluntary return of refused cases.

There Are Alternatives

Over the past five years, the International Detention Coalition has undertaken a program of research to identify and describe a number of positive alternatives to immigration detention (‘alternatives’) that respect fundamental rights, are less expensive and are equally or more effective than traditional border controls. The IDC has identified over 250 examples of alternatives from 60 countries.

Read the full report here

Regional Expert Roundtable on Alternatives to Immigration Detention for Children

Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network(APRRN)  and the International Detention Coalition (IDC) joined forces to organise a Regional Expert Roundtable on Alternatives to Immigration Detention for Children, which was held on 19 and 20 November in Bangkok, Thailand.

Read the full report here