Criminals awaiting deportation net £500,000

Author: By James Tapsfield, Press Association

The convicts were handed the money after being kept in custody beyond the end
of their sentence while the authorities considered ejecting them.

The House of Lords ruled three years ago that thousands of foreign inmates
should have the same release provisions as their British counterparts.

They must now be assessed for parole like any other prisoner, and either freed
on licence or detained under immigration powers if it is granted.

Critics claim that as a result many foreign offenders are being let out and
simply go on the run – making a mockery of the government’s efforts to
deport them.

The latest figures, slipped out in a parliament question response on the last
day of term, suggest that dozens are also getting cash windfalls.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson told MPs that between April 2008 and June this
year the UK Border Agency paid £498,897.21 in compensation to foreign
prisoners held in custody beyond the expiry of their sentence.

Some £78,500 was handed over in a single month last July. Mr Johnson said no
details were available from before that period, and did not disclose how
many individuals had received compensation.

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