‘To spend remaining period in native country after deportation’
27th January 2010: Even as the Damian Green claimed British jails were overcrowded with foreign prisoners, Immigration Minster Phil Woolas said they were being deported at first possible opportunity. He said 2008 saw the deportation of record number of prisoners. In all 5,400 were deported.
Woola said lawbreakers can be sent home to serve the rest of their sentences in foreign prisons, as the government has transfer agreements with many countries. Woola’s added that he had made it clear that those who come to the UK and break the rules will not be tolerated.
Woolas assertion came in reaction to Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green’s contention ‘Britain has been reduced to the United Nations of crime’. He had asserted that Labour’s open door immigration policy has turned Britain’s jails into a ‘United Nations of crime’ – holding inmates from 160 countries.
Green had further added that the foreign criminals ranged from murderers and rapists to burglars, paedophiles and drug dealers. They represented one in every seven inmates; and British convicts are being released early to make space.
He said inmates from Jamaica, Nigeria, the Irish Republic, Vietnam, Poland, China, Somalia, Pakistan, India and Romania were topping the list.
Green said that this was a continuing crisis both for the immigration system and the prison system. There were clear dangers in overloaded prisons and on British taxpayers who had to pay for this.
The enormous number of foreign nations has been blamed for the current prison overcrowding crisis. This had resulted into early release of tens of thousands of inmates.
The figures revealed in total, 75,000 convicts had benefited from Labour’s End of Custody Licence – under which they walked free 18 days before their sentence reached the middle point.
They included 15,000 violent offenders, 6,795 criminals serving sentences for burglary, 16,402 for theft, 3,322 for drug offences and 1,898 for robbery.
The Ministry of Justice was aware of 1,512 offences committed by offenders during their period of early release. This included three murders. Critics say that if there had been fewer foreign national prisoners, early release of British criminals may not have been required.
Ministers had tried a number of desperate tactics to reduce the number of overseas inmates. Last month, it came out, that foreign rapists, murderers and other offenders were being offered credit cards pre-loaded with more than £450 of taxpayers’ cash if they agreed to return home.
The perk was part of a package worth up to £5,000 designed to ‘bribe’ them to leave the UK. The credit cards were full with money which the convict could spend after leaving British soil. The remainder of the bonus was payable ‘in kind’ when they went back home. The bribe could also include cash to set up a business.
One in four of the foreign criminals who were deported last year only went home after being offered one of the special payments. Recent recipients included an immigrant convicted of the horrific killing of a 17-month- old baby.