Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Foreign Prisoners Scandal

The Government have, rightly, come in for a lot of criticism about the scandal of foreign prisoners being released from prison and not being deported. There is a case to be argued about how dreadful this is and how we shouldn't be letting foreign criminals loose onto the streets of Britain. It's an excellent case, particularly in the case of illegal immigrants and people whose application for asylum has either not yet been heard or turned down. In these cases I have no doubt that the criminals should be forced to serve their FULL sentences in a British jail then be returned to their country of origin.

But I have a few misgivings about just automatically throwing foreign criminals out of the country. It just seems too easy, too obviously a sop to the mob.

If someone has been given indefinite leave to remain, or even British citizenship, then they can't just be thrown out for committing a crime. People do commit crimes, make mistakes and it is right that they should be punished for it. The choice of punishment, however, should be made on legal grounds not political grounds, which expelling people from the country would be. There is no way that a criminal from the Sudan (for example) should be sent back there just to make Blair and Reid look tough.

There is a case in Scotland of a Cuban who has been in the country for 30 years having escaped with his family from political persecution. This man committed a crime and was jailed. By all accounts he was a good prisoner and has complied with all of his parole conditions. There is nothing to be gained from sending this man out of the country, other than ticking boxes about how many foreign criminals have been expelled.

Each case should be examined individually and many factors should be taken into account. I hope this is sorted out as soon as possible.

1 comment:

Ellee Seymour said...

EAch case should be judged on its own merits. And who would want to return anyone to Iraq? It's a tough one, if they have broken our laws and we are having to finance them, they are a burden on us. I think there should perhaps be an international pot of money to share this.