Foreign National Offenders

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering 12:00 am, 24th January 2017

How many foreign national offenders are in prison; and what steps she is taking to return those people to prison in their own countries.

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

As of 30 September 2016 there were 6,688 foreign national offenders serving a custodial sentence in our prisons. A further 2,374 foreign nationals are being held in prison on remand or in immigration detention centres. We are committed to increasing the number of foreign national offenders removed from our prisons, whether they are removed under the prisoner transfer agreement or the early removal scheme. In 2015-16, 5,810 FNOs were removed from prisons and immigration removal centres; that is the highest number since records began, and since 2010 33,000 have been removed.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

Poland has one of the biggest national groups of foreign national offenders in our prisons. Poland’s derogation from the compulsory EU prisoner transfer directive was due to expire in December 2016. Are we now in a position to send these Polish prisoners back to prison in their own country?

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

All eligible Polish nationals have been identified and deportation orders sought. We have referred cases to the Polish courts, and transfers will take place once Polish legal procedures have been completed.

Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

Does the Minister think the number of prisoner transfers will go up or down after we leave the EU?

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We have already been in touch with the Department for Exiting the European Union on prisoner transfer agreements, but, as I said in my opening answer, that is one way of removing prisoners from this country. The early removal scheme is another way, and we have been successful at removing a lot of prisoners through that scheme.

Photo of Margaret Ferrier Margaret Ferrier Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland Office)

Has the Ministry of Justice made an assessment of how many British offenders are held in foreign prisons?

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

There is a number available, but I do not have it to hand. I am willing to provide it, if the hon. Lady wants to follow up.