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UK signs compulsory prisoner transfer agreement with Albania

Date: (3 August 2012)    |    

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A mandatory transfer agreement between Britain and the Albanian government would see more than 100 Albanian prisoners spending time in British prisons sent back to Albania to complete their sentences.
The Ministry of Justice said that the deal was the first bilateral agreement signed with a country that had a large number of foreign national offenders in British jails. There are 180 Albanian prisoners in Britain of whom more than 100 could be eligible for being sent back.
The transfer agreement will mean that Albanian prisoners in Britain may be sent to Albania to complete the rest of their sentence, and British prisoners in Albania may also be compulsorily transferred back to Britain.

The National Offender Management Service, which manages prisons in England and Wales, says it would start identifying Albanian prisoners who were eligible for transfer while the agreement was being put before the Westminster and Albanian parliaments for ratification.
It is the third compulsory transfer agreement that Britain has concluded in recent years. The other two are with Libya and Rwanda. A European-wide prisoner-transfer agreement came into force last December to enable transfers to take place within the European Union within set time scales.
Due to the delays in getting these foreign nationals deported, after their sentences, by the UK Border Agency the backlog has been steadily increasing. The backlog of foreign nationals stands at 3,900 at the moment. The move is intended to get down the backlog to some extent which are caused due to delays in deportation for legal and casework reasons.
The prisons minister, Crispin Blunt, said thousands of foreign criminals were being removed at the end of their sentences, or under transfer agreements to serve the rest of their sentences at home.
He said that wherever it was possible the overseas offenders should be serving their sentences in their own country. This would not just save money for the UK but those prisoners would be closer to their family and friends, which helps in social rehabilitation and reintegration into their society.
Transfers also help their home country to take appropriate steps for public protection when they are released.
He added that this compulsory prisoner transfer agreement was first of many arrangements to decongest prison and reduce the burden to taxpayers of foreign criminals, who should rightly become the responsibility of their own country and not the UK.