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Prisoner Transfers: Albania

Volume 735: debated on Tuesday 27 June 2023

14. If he will take steps to negotiate prisoner transfer arrangements similar to those agreed with Albania with other countries. (905645)

Our prisoner transfer agreement with Albania came into force in May 2022. To build on that, as I have mentioned before, we announced a new arrangement with the Albanian Government in May this year to speed up prisoner transfers to Albania of the most serious offenders. The Government will energetically pursue bilateral agreements with EU partners and wider-world partners wherever possible.

Will the Secretary of State confirm that out of a prison population of 85,000, about 10,000 prisoners—12%—are foreign national offenders? He said earlier that we have over 100 prisoner transfer agreements, but only a handful of them are compulsory, where we send prisoners back whether they want to go back or not. Can we have more compulsory prisoner transfer agreements with countries that have a large number of nationals in our jails?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising this issue consistently—he was raising it when I first came to the House in 2015, and he is absolutely right to do so. Yes, we will continue to work on the issue. At the risk of stating the obvious, those agreements have to be agreed to by the other nation, but I can assure him that those matters are getting very close focus and attention.