Monday, May 28

The Scandal of Foreign Prisoners

A very British Prison, Wormwood Scrubs, West London.

Up to 3,000 foreign criminals will be released from prison on to Britain's streets without any attempt to deport them, Government papers have revealed last week.
A note sent to probation staff says as few as 250 convicts from European countries will face even preliminary deportation proceedings every year.The Probation service place the blame on an EU directive which rules that committing a serious crime is no longer sufficient grounds for removal from the UK.
As a result, the vast bulk of the estimated 3,300 European criminals released from British jails each year - including burglars, thieves and muggers - will simply walk free. The revelation undermines the empty promise made by Tony Blair to tackle the problem in the wake of the foreign prisoner scandal last year.
Mr Blair said at the time: "It is now time that anybody who is convicted of an imprisonable offence and who is a foreign national is deported."Overseas criminals convicted of crimes warranting a jail sentence of a year or more can normally be kicked out of Britain when they are released from prison - on the grounds that their presence is "not conducive to the public good".
Probation Circular 11/2007, sent out last week, said an EU directive has made the criteria far more stringent for citizens ofthe European Economic Area.The Home Office can only remove EEA nationals who are highly likely to re-offend. They must also pose a "present, genuine and sufficiently seriousthreat" to society.The change means all except the most serious offenders - such as killers and rapists - will not face even an attempt at deportation by the Home Office's Criminal Casework Directorate.The note to probation staff revealed that just "approximately 250-300" offenders will face even an attempt at removal - which could of course be unsuccessful.
The latest revelation shows how, one year on, the Government is unable to escape the continuing repercussions of the foreign prisoner scandal.
Lin Homer, head of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, recently told MPs that her staff had tracked down and deported only 163 of the 1,013 foreign offenders who were mistakenly freed without being considered for deportation. Another 512 were still to be removed from the UK, and the remainder are likely to be allowed to stay.
Ministers are also floundering on a second promise relating to foreign convicts - to send home foreign nationals imprisoned in Britain. The reason is that British Ministers are not in a position to over ride EU law.
It matters not that British Jails are at bursting point - with a record 80,812 inmates as of last Friday - the EU is in charge and the EU regulations are quite clear!
Tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime - who said that ? Oh well, it can only get better, but first the UK will have to leave the EU!
Note: The core issue, is the European Union Directive 2004/38/EC "on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States", which came into force just over a year ago, an event recorded by Dr North on his blog.


Anonymous said...

But what about the rights of "born and bred" British citizens?
The Eu needs to note that we are losing out in favour of immigrants, as does the government. That includes housing and jobs not to mention your point that our country is now less safe due to foreign criminals roaming our streets.

Abigail Jordan said...

I found reading your blog on the story of our british prisons quite amusing.

I, having worked in the public social care sector came into contact a lot with prisoners who were at our local open prison.

Some of the prisoners were trusted to do community work within the social care. One of which ( who was on his second stay in prison, the first sentence was for two years) was a Turkish national who was now doing a five year sentence.

The part of your blog that I found amusing was the bit about Tony Blair, saying that "its now time that anybody who is convicted of an imprisonable offence and who is a foreign national is deported".

Forgive me for laughing, as I can still remember the day, that two prison wardens arriving at the place where I worked in such a great haste, to clamp our Turkish community worker in cuffs and take in back to the prison at high speed.

Why? Because they had just found out that, not only was he convicted of an imprisonable offence, he was actually an illegal immigrant too.

Why am I laughing?

Because I want to know how he prisoner got though the immigration net when he did the first sentence?

He had almost completed his second sentence of five years,when suddenly our immigration service discovered him.

So in total, it has taken our prison service and immigration department, nearly seven years to discover that one of their captive's should not even be in the country, let alone breaking our laws.

So please forgive me if I laugh out loud, but I find the criminal system quite a joke.

Could our prisons be bursting at the seams, because possible a lot more of the prisoners are illegal immigrants too?

Is this not checked before the law breakers are put into prison, at the tax payers exspence?

I would say NOT.

Sarah Hopperty said...

Abigail - thank you for a very interesting post. Please comment as often as you can on this Blog. Our hard campaining Editor needs all the support he can get - I like your style.

Abigail Jordan said...

Thankyou for the invitation to write on your blog, most appeciated, but I am not a prolific writer, only on stuff that I am passionate about, and stuff that pisses me off.

Please excuse the colourful speech, but I find it quite fitting a word, to vent ones displeasure.

I enjoy reading and commenting on your editors blog, its very refreshing to read about someone who is passionate about politics and who really cares about how our country is being run. Don't ever stop writing.

Thankyou for allowing me to contribute my views too.

ps I have trouble with spelling too.