Standing in line with hundreds of others in front of Abu Ghraib Prison, Iqbal Ali Khadim breaks into tears at the mention of her 12-year-old son, Ali. 'I just want him to be out,' she said. 'The last time I visited him, he told me they had beat him because they thought he was going to be a suicide bomber.' Ali, along with his father, two older brothers and a pair of uncles, were arrested at Mrs Khadim's home in Yusefiya, south of Baghdad, two months ago. Soon, she says, she will make the day-long trip to Camp Bucca in Umm Qasr, south of Basra, where Ali's brothers and uncles are being held, accused of supporting the insurgency. Many of the families outside Abu Ghraib, which, along with Bucca, accounts for almost all of the detainees the US holds in Iraq, complain of arrests that take all the men from a family, and then split them up into separate prisons. Last week the New York Times reported that major detention centres in Iraq have swelled to capacity, with the growing detainee population reflecting recent changes in how the military has been waging the war and in its policies towards detainees. The military swept up many Iraqis before January's elections in an attempt to curb violence. It halted all releases before the vote. Other detainees have been captured in ambitious offensives across the so-called Sunni Triangle. As of this week, the military is holding at least 8,900 detainees in the three major prisons, 1,000 more than in late January. In Abu Ghraib, where eight American soldiers were charged last year with abusing detainees, 3,160 people were being kept, well above the 2,500 level considered ideal, said Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Johnson, a spokesman for the detainee system. The largest centre, Camp Bucca in the south, has at least 5,640 detainees. One hundred so-called high-value detainees, including Saddam Hussein and his closest aides, are being held at Camp Cropper, near the Baghdad airport. 'We're very close to capacity now,' Colonel Johnson was quoted as saying. The London-based Arabic newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat recently reported that a new prison, to be the largest facility in the country, is being built near a US military base in the southern city of Nasiriyah, meaning many more Iraqi women will soon face an already difficult life without their menfolk. 'I have no sons to work and I cannot collect my husband's pension because they took his ID when he was arrested,' Mrs Khadim said. One man standing in line, who complained his brother had been held for more than a year, said: 'If they are not going to charge them, they should let them go.' US military officials have said they are bringing prisoners before review boards, but it is not happening quickly enough for many families. Iraqi officials also complain the US military is not devoting enough personnel to the process. 'At the Ministry of Justice, we've offered them lawyers, but they've refused,' said Salim Mendalawi, a lawyer at the ministry.