By Daniel Martin
PUBLISHED: 23:18, 26 October 2012
UPDATED: 23:19, 26 October 2012
ust 62 foreign criminals have been sent home under the Tories despite David Cameron’s pledge to remove thousands from British jails.
The Prime Minister promised a crackdown two years ago after it emerged that more than 11,000 foreign inmates – one in eight prisoners – are clogging up our jails.
But official figures released this week show that fewer offenders are being deported than when Labour was in power.
Since January last year, only 62 have been sent home to serve the rest of their sentences – 25 to just one country, the Netherlands.
Just 30 were returned in total last year – far less than the 89 in 2010 and 64 in 2009. Each inmate costs taxpayers £45,000 a year – meaning the total bill is over £500million.
Current agreements prevent the authorities from sending prisoners home without their consent. Although Mr Cameron pledged in November 2010 to tear up such agreements, only one has since been renegotiated – with Saudi Arabia. None of its nationals has been sent back.
As of June 30 this year, there were 11,861 foreign inmates – 12.6 per cent of the total – serving time for offences including murder, burglary, drugs, assault and rape.
Parliamentary figures show Jamaica has the most nationals in our jails, with 900 inmates, followed by Poland with 750, Ireland’s 737 and Nigeria’s 594.
Despite this, not a single prisoner has been returned to Jamaica, while three have gone back to Ireland, and just one has been sent to Nigeria and Poland.
Labour’s justice spokesman Sadiq Khan, who uncovered the figures, said: ‘David Cameron claimed back in 2010 that he would “personally intervene” to send more foreign criminals back home. But these figures I have uncovered show this Tory-led Government is sending back fewer foreign criminals than before.
‘Breaking promises is becoming the trademark of this incompetent Prime Minister.
‘The progress made under Labour has been reversed, leaving the taxpayer with a bill of over half a billion pounds a year.’
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘This is an aspect of our prison system that has to change – I am clear that more foreign prisoners must serve their sentences in their own countries. There are far too many in our prisons.
A lot is already being done to tackle this and thousands of foreign national prisoners are already removed each year – either during or at the end of the sentences.
‘But I am determined to do more and will investigate every possible avenue to reduce their numbers and unburden British taxpayers.’
Answering the parliamentary question, junior justice minister Jeremy Wright said: ‘From 1 January 2011 to 10 October 2012, 62 foreign prisoners have been repatriated. Of these, 61 were transferred to their country of nationality, and one to a country other than his country of nationality. One British national was also repatriated to his country of residence.’
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