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Foreign National Offenders

Volume 594: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2015

The total number of foreign national offenders released from prison between May 2010 and September 2014 is 38,256. That does not take into account offenders who have been transferred to an immigration removal centre, releases of indeterminate prisoners and those on home detention curfew.

Thousands of foreign criminals have been released from prison, and the Public Accounts Committee reported just two months ago that the number being deported is now 500 lower than it was in 2008-09 under the previous Government. The last Conservative manifesto said:

“We will extend early deportation of foreign national prisoners”.

What did the word “extend” mean?

I can tell the hon. Gentleman that the number of foreign national offenders in our prisons doubled when his Government were in power. This Government have brought the number down: from 11,135 in June 2010 to 10,503. He is of course right that we have further work to do. We have signed prisoner transfer agreements with Nigeria, Somaliland and Albania, and we are actively making sure that European Union prisoner transfer arrangements take place, notably with Poland at the end of next year. We are absolutely focused on continuing to make progress on this important issue.

When a foreign national commits a crime in the United Kingdom, they should be sent back to where they came from and banned from ever returning. Should we not also compulsorily transfer prisoners from our jails to prisons in their own countries? What new compulsory transfer agreements are the Government working on?

I commend my hon. Friend’s persistence, as always, on this issue. The introduction of the Immigration Act 2014 will make a significant difference. It gives us the ability to deport people first, allowing foreign national offenders to appeal in their home country later. We have reduced the number of appeal options from 17 to four, which is starting to make a difference.