Record numbers of Albanian criminals are filling up Britain’s jails despite a deal in 2013 that allowed them to be sent home to serve their sentences.
Just 24 have been repatriated since the agreement was signed, while the total in prison has risen more than fourfold to reach 876, representing the largest number of foreign criminals in UK jails.
In 2013 about 100 Albanians in jails in England and Wales were singled out for compulsory transfer under the scheme. Albanians were the 16th largest imprisoned group by nationality then but are now the biggest, followed by 754 inmates from Poland, 734 from Romania and 707 Irish.
Philip Hollobone, the Conservative MP for Kettering, said the fact that only 24 had been repatriated was pathetic.
“The new government needs to get a grip on this and ensure that many, many more of the 9,000 foreign national offenders in our jails are compulsorily transferred back to their country of origin to serve their sentence. A good place to start would be with the almost 900 Albanians in our jails,” he added.
In 2013 the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said that the deal would free up space in prisons and save the taxpayer £2 million in 2013-14 and £25 million over the next ten years. At present rates keeping the Albanians in British custody is costing the prison service up to £21 million a year.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said: “Any foreign national who comes to our country and abuses our hospitality by breaking the law should be in no doubt of our determination to punish and deport them.”