£35m A Year: The Cost of Foreign Prisoners That Britain Cannot Deport

£35m A Year: The Cost of Foreign Prisoners That Britain Cannot Deport

Foreign prisoners spend an average of 234 days behind bars AFTER their official release date because it is so hard to deport them. There are currently 850 foreign prisoners in British jails despite having already completed their sentences.

The Sun reports that at a cost of £40,000 per prisoner every year the total bill for the taxpayer could be around £34m a year. Enough to employ well over 600 new fully trained Police Officers. Of those still in prison, 145 have been inside from a year after their sentence was finished, and remarkably ten have been there for over five years. 

The figures were revealed in a parliamentary question, tabled by the controversial Labour shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan. Mr Khan said: “British jails are seriously overcrowded and rammed to overflowing on this Government’s watch.

“Yet 850 foreign criminals who could be deported are clogging up prisons because of this Government’s incompetence. That’s the equivalent of two decent sized prisons just to hold criminals who should have been deported.

“It’s costing hard-pressed British taxpayers £35million a year to keep foreign criminals in jail when they should have been sent back to their home countries. The Government are offering words where there should be action and appear to have thrown the towel in on this.”

James Brokenshire, the Home Office Minister maintains that “every effort” is being made to remove foreign prisoners as soon as their sentence is over. He said: “Where a detainee refuses to co-operate with the removal or deportation process, detention may be prolonged.”

Mr Khan is a controversial figure in British politics. The Member of Parliament for Tooting in South London is a former Human Rights lawyer who admits to being friends with the Al-Qaeda fundrasier Babar Ahmed. Mr Ahmed unsuccessfully fought extradition to the United States of America to face terror charges.  

On at least one occasion Khan visited Ahmed in prison, but it was revealed in 2008 that the British Security Service MI5 had bugged the conversations. It is highly unusual for the Security Services to bug a Member of Parliament. 

Since his arrival in the US, Mr Ahmed has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and providing material to support to terrorism, specifically raising money for Al-Qaeda online. He has been friends with Khan since they were teenagers.

The MP has never fully explained the nature of their relationship.