Foreign inmates 'costing taxpayers hundreds of millions'

A public spending watchdog has demanded action to speed up the Government's "frustratingly poor" record on removing from the UK foreign criminals who are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds.

Reducing foreign prisoners 'top priority' for government

Justice Minister Jeremy Wright says the government is "working hard" to reduce the number of foreign criminals in the UK prison system.

The foreign national prisoner population is lower than it was in 2010 and reducing it further is a top priority for this Government.

We are working hard to reduce the numbers in our prison system - in 2012 alone we deported more than 4,500 foreign criminals from the UK."

– Jeremy Wright, Justice Minister

Read: Foreign inmates 'costing taxpayer hundreds of millions'

Deport foreign criminals more quickly, govt urged

Foreign nationals make up 13% of the total prison population, the PAC said.
Foreign nationals make up 13% of the total prison population, the PAC said. Credit: Reuters

A public spending watchdog has demanded action to speed up the Government's "frustratingly poor" record on removing from the UK foreign criminals who are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds.

Too many overseas inmates are still being locked up at public expense as the rate they are sent home has dropped by 14% over the past four years, the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

The committee's chair, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, said: "While more than 1,000 foreign national offenders are deported each quarter, a similar number are convicted, so the overall number of foreign national prisoners stays at the same level of around 11,000 - 13% of the total prison population."

"The agency should work with the Home Office to understand why there are delays in removing foreign national offenders, and tackle the barriers to their removal."

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