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Foreign Prisoners

Volume 454: debated on Tuesday 5 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign prisoners are awaiting deportation; and what the average length of time is for which such prisoners have been waiting. (104023)

The IND Director General, Lin Homer, wrote to the Home Affairs Committee on 9 October 2006 and provided the latest and most accurate figures the Department has on deportation of foreign national prisoners. She explained that since April 2006, approximately 3,800 new foreign national prisoners have been referred for deportation consideration and action is now being pursued against around 1,750 individuals. Over the same period, our records also show that in total over 1,000 FNPs have been removed or deported from the UK.

In his oral statement to the House on 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 32, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made clear that he had made a commitment that the Department would not release those foreign national prisoners who ought to be considered for deportation before such consideration had been completed and we would continue to detain them until that was achieved. He explained that this process of dealing with the backlog while maintaining deportation consideration for everyone who is released from prison will contribute towards a higher prison population until the position is fully resolved.

He also set out that as part of improving processes for dealing with foreign national prisoners, we will reach the position by the spring of 2007 where the consideration of deportation for all foreign nationals will begin six months before the end of their sentences and that we are making steady progress towards that as we deal with the backlog.