Wednesday 27 January 2010

Diversity is our Strength

Britain, a United Nations of crime: Offenders from 160 countries are in our crowded prisons... one in seven inmates

By James Slack
Last updated at 1:53 AM on 27th January 2010

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Child-killer Agnes Wong was one of the prisoners 'bribed' to quit Britain

Paid to leave: Child-killer Agnes Wong was one of the prisoners 'bribed' to quit Britain

Labour's open door immigration policy has turned Britain's jails into a 'United Nations of crime' - holding inmates from 160 countries.

The foreign criminals represent one in every seven inmates in our prisons - which are so packed that British convicts are being released early to make space.

They range from murderers and rapists to burglars, paedophiles and drug dealers.

There are only 192 member countries of the United Nations, meaning all bar 32 are represented in the British prison system.

The top ten nationalities of the inmates are Jamaica, Nigeria, the Irish Republic, Vietnam, Poland, China, Somalia, Pakistan, India and Romania.

There is no evidence to suggest that foreign nationals are more likely to commit crime. Rather, the huge number of overseas convicts - 11,546 out of 84,000 people in jail - reflects the large number of immigrants living in the UK.

Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green, who uncovered the figures, said: 'Britain has been reduced to the United Nations of crime.

'The fact that criminals from eight in ten countries in the world are plying their trade in Britain shows something is very wrong with both our immigration and security policy.'

'This is a continuing crisis both for the immigration system and the prison system. There are obvious dangers in overloaded prisons, as well as a burden on British taxpayers who have to pay for this.'
A graphic of the worst offenders

The huge number of foreign nations has been blamed for the current prison overcrowding crisis, which has led to the early release of tens of thousands of inmates.

In total, 75,000 convicts have benefited from Labour's End of Custody Licence - under which they walk free 18 days before their sentence reaches the halfway point.

They include 15,000 violent offenders, 6,795 criminals serving sentences for burglary, 16,402 for theft, 3,322 for drug offences and 1,898 for robbery.

The Ministry of Justice is aware of 1,512 offences committed by offenders during their period of early release. This includes three murders.

Critics say that if there had been fewer foreign national prisoners, early release of British criminals may not have been required.

Ministers have tried a number of desperate tactics to reduce the number of overseas inmates.

Last month, it emerged that foreign rapists, murderers and other offenders were being offered credit cards pre-loaded with more than £450 of taxpayers' cash if they agreed to return home.

The perk is part of a package worth up to £5,000 designed to 'bribe' them to leave the UK.

The credit cards are loaded with money which the convict can spend as soon as they leave British soil. The remainder of the windfall is payable 'in kind' when they return home, and can include cash to set up a business.

One in four of the foreign criminals who was deported last year only went home after being offered one of the special payments.

Recent recipients include an immigrant convicted of the horrific killing of a 17-month- old baby.

Malaysian Agnes Wong, 29, was jailed for five years in 2008 for the manslaughter of a toddler she was supposed to be child-minding. The Tories have vowed to end the End of Custody Licence scheme. Controversially, they are considering using prison ships to provide extra space.

Immigration Minster Phil Woolas said: 'I have made it clear that those who come to the UK and break the rules will not be tolerated. That is why we are removing more foreign criminals than ever before, including a record 5,400 in 2008.

'The UK Border Agency works hard to remove these individuals at the earliest opportunity.

'The Government has agreed transfer agreements with many countries, meaning lawbreakers can be sent home to serve the rest of their sentences in foreign prisons.'

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