A source at the Home Office has revealed that the Ministry of Justice are unduly delaying the removal of Foreign National Prisoners on a timely basis.
The UK Borders Act 2007 makes it mandatory to remove any Foreign National prisoner with a sentence of one year or above. There are currently over 10,000 Foreign National Prisoners subject to removal directions, but the Ministry of Justice delays the paperwork enabling a quick removal.
Another source at the Prison Service said, “that the reason for this was that if Foreign Nationals are all removed quickly as Parliament intended, it would leave ‘a gap and drought of prisoners’ that would place at risk the multimillion-pound prison building project.” The same source also said, “If you remove 10,000 prisoners quickly from the system, we certainly don’t need any new prisons.”
A source at the Howard League for Penal Reform mirrored by the Prison Reform Trust said, “that thousands of Foreign National Prisoners linger away in their cells, and most were well past there release dates owing to the Prison Service failure to provide the Home Office the necessary cooperation. At the three exclusive all Foreign National Prisons HMP Maidstone, HMP Huntercombe, and the process for removal instead of being quicker is even more acute.
A prisoner from Bulgaria at the newly converted HMP Morton Hall said that he has tried for over four months to obtain what it is referred to as “Annex C” from the Governor allowing him to be removed back to his country earlier. As an incentive to Foreign Nationals in 2003 Parliament enacted legislation allowing Foreign National Prisoners to be released up to 9 months early, provided they wave any right to appealing the deportation or going before an Immigration Judge seeking the right to remain in the UK.
Recently Parliament increased the Early Release Scheme upping the reduction from nine months to one year, which is considered a massive incentive for Foreign National Criminals to leave the UK without challenge. That legislation was enacted and came into force in April 2022, but the Prison Service failed to comply and did so only when threatened with legal action by a law graduate from Scotland. The Prison Service gave an undertaking to re-calculate all early release dates by the 28 June 2022 which they did, but then failed to update the prison computer system and continue to communicate the new dates to the Home Office who have the job of actually removing Foreign National Prisoners. “This is an acute scandal” said a whistleblower at the MOJ. “It is a deliberate ploy to keep as many prisoners in the system as possible, in order to maintain the funding for new prisons.” The policy which frustrates the will of Parliament they soon, however, face scrutiny in the High Court with lawyers seeking to challenge such and some making applications for Habeas Corpus.
The Justice Committee in Parliament estimated that by removing all Foreign National Prisoners on a timely basis, as Parliament ordered would have the taxpayer pay over 5 billion pounds per annum. A legal source has stated that if there are further deliberate delays in the removal of Foreign National Prisoners the Secretary of State for Justice could be subject to action in person in the High Court for breach of statutory duty, contempt of Parliament and the deliberate frustration of the will of Parliament.
Investigative Reporter OPC Global News and Media