Gordon Brown to send foreign criminals home
By Toby Helm
Last Updated: 2:25am BST 26/07/2007
Gordon Brown is hoping to more than double the number of foreign prisoners who are deported every year to around 4,000 to help free up space in the country's overcrowded jails, he announced last night.
In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Mr Brown set the firm target saying the British public expected people who come to this country and commit serious crimes to be sent home swiftly.
In recent years the number deported has been between 1,500 and 2,200 – a total seen as insufficient by the Prime Minister.
However there were questions last night over whether this proposal could actually work as repatriation depends on countries accepting the convicted people. Other foreign prisoners cannot be returned to their native countries because they would face being tortured or killed in their homeland.
Mr Brown intends to lead up to the prisoners' removal by allowing work on the deportation of individuals to begin a year before they are released from prison rather than six months prior to the end of their sentences, as is the case at present.
There are currently 11,500 foreign prisoners out of a total prison population of 80,000.
A source close to Mr Brown said last night: “People expect that those who come to this country and commit crimes should expect to be deported. That is what this is about.”
The target of 4,000 annual deportations has already been set by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND).