Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Albanian prisoners to be sent back

Albanian prisoners will be deported to finish their sentences in their homeland

A wave of Albanian prisoners held in England and Wales will be sent back to their home country to finish their sentences.

A total of 77 out of nearly 200 Albanian prisoners are currently eligible for transfer under the agreement between the two nations, said the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The move, which is expected to save taxpayers around £25 million over the next 10 years, should see the first batch of prisoners deported in around two months' time.

The compulsory prisoner transfer agreement, which will save Britain £2 million in the first year, was signed by prisons minister Jeremy Wright and the Albanian minister of justice, Eduard Halimi.

It is the first agreement providing for transfer from the UK to outside the European Union.

All eligible cases have been referred to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) for deportation, the MoJ said.

Mr Wright said: "The co-operation of the Albanian authorities has been crucial in ensuring these negotiations have proved so fruitful. The British Government wants more foreign national prisoners to serve their sentences in their home country."

Albanian nationals make up the 16th highest foreign national population in English and Welsh prisons.

In the last 10 years, the number of foreign nationals in prisons in England and Wales has doubled to around 10,900 and now represents more than 14% of the total prison population.

More than 175 foreign criminals were deported under Operation Nexus, a joint initiative launched by the UKBA and the Metropolitan Police Service at the start of September.

www.justice.gov.uk/(Ministry of Justice)

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