Britain’s prisons see huge rise in EU convicts – And guess who’s footing the bill?

Britain is fast becoming the EU’s prison island as our jails fill with criminals from the EU, while prisons in eastern Europe remain largely empty.

Shocking figures reveal a 240 per cent rise in EU convicts filing our jails at the cost to the taxpayer of £150million. Meanwhile, prisons in eastern Europe are experiencing a drop in their inmate populations.

Just days ago a landmark European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling barred member states from sending prisoners back to their EU countries to finish their prison terms if their human rights are threatened there.

The ruling prevented Germany extraditing suspected criminals to their homes in Romania and Hungary because of fears their fundamental human rights would be at risk by the condition of the prisons.

Of the 10,500 foreigners in British jails last year, nearly half – 4,600 – are citizens of other EU countries.Figures from the Grassroots Out campaign show that the number of EU nationals in prison in England and Wales rose by more than 240 per cent between 2002 and 2014, from 1,763 in 2002 to 4,252 in 2014. The number of Poles in UK jails stood at 867, up 2,000 per cent from 2002.
Romanians numbered 614, up by more than 1,200 per cent, and Lithuanians 542, up by more than 1,000 per cent.In their countries, however, prison numbers have fallen even more dramatically than UK numbers have risen, with Romania enjoying a 3,882 drop in prisoner figures since it joined the EU. Latvia’s prison numbers have fallen by 3,092 while Poland’s have decreased by 2,997.
In 2013, EU nationals in UK prisons cost the taxpayer more than £147million. Polish prisoners cost the British taxpayer more than £30million, Romanians more than £22million and Lithuanians £17million.
Under an EU prisoner transfer agreement, Britain has the right to repatriate EU member inmates to serve out the remainder of their jail terms. However, up to May last year only 19 EU nationals had been sent back to their home nations in the previous 12 months.The recent ECJ ruling has further complicated matters. The cases concerned a Hungarian wanted over a string of burglaries and a Romanian accused of driving infringements, who had been sentenced to 20 months in prison.

Judges in Bremen, where both men were arrested, sought advice from Brussels about extradition. The ruling goes against the core principle of the European Arrest Warrant which guarantees the automatic extradition of suspects.

It will also force British taxpayers to continue to pay to jail some of our most prolific offenders. Ukip deputy leader Paul Nutall said: “These figures represent either an amazing coincidence or, more likely, these countries are emptying their prisons and filling ours up. 

“First we are the victims of China’s steel dumping. Now we are the victim’s of eastern Europe’s convict dumping. Britain is clearly becoming the EU’s Alcatraz, a prison island that is filling up with foreign criminals.” 

The figures were also blasted by pro-Brexit former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who now holds a cabinet position as Lord President of the Council. He said: “Anyone who moves to the UK should have a job or the ability to support themselves.

“The problem is too many people are coming here who end up in our criminal justice system and our jails, who shouldn’t be coming here in the first place. “ Referring to the ECJ ruling, he added: 

“This proves the European Arrest Warrant isn’t working. We’ve seen people who shouldn’t be taken to other countries being moved over there, while genuine criminals can’t be moved back because of human rights laws. 

“The state of their prisons is seen as unacceptable by the courts. It would be absurd if, despite everything were being told, we can’t send back a criminal to eastern Europe on human rights reasons.”


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