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Foreign National Offenders

Volume 620: debated on Tuesday 24 January 2017

15. How many foreign national offenders are in prison; and what steps she is taking to return those people to prison in their own countries. (908353)

As of 30 September 2016 there were 6,688 foreign national offenders serving a custodial sentence in our prisons. A further 2,374 foreign nationals are being held in prison on remand or in immigration detention centres. We are committed to increasing the number of foreign national offenders removed from our prisons, whether they are removed under the prisoner transfer agreement or the early removal scheme. In 2015-16, 5,810 FNOs were removed from prisons and immigration removal centres; that is the highest number since records began, and since 2010 33,000 have been removed.

Poland has one of the biggest national groups of foreign national offenders in our prisons. Poland’s derogation from the compulsory EU prisoner transfer directive was due to expire in December 2016. Are we now in a position to send these Polish prisoners back to prison in their own country?

All eligible Polish nationals have been identified and deportation orders sought. We have referred cases to the Polish courts, and transfers will take place once Polish legal procedures have been completed.

We have already been in touch with the Department for Exiting the European Union on prisoner transfer agreements, but, as I said in my opening answer, that is one way of removing prisoners from this country. The early removal scheme is another way, and we have been successful at removing a lot of prisoners through that scheme.

There is a number available, but I do not have it to hand. I am willing to provide it, if the hon. Lady wants to follow up.