Hver fjerde fengselsplass i London er opptatt av utenlandske statsborgere, til tross for den britiske regjeringens anstrengelser for å øke antall deportasjoner. Offisielle tall viser at utenlandske statsborgere i Londons 7 fengsler utgjør 28 prosent av de innsatte.
Britiske fengsler er allerede i ferd med å bli overfylt, hvilket som fikk regjeringen til å implementere et prosjekt for tidligere løslatelse. Hittil har prosjektet ført til at rundt 30.000 mennesker blitt løslatt før de er ferdige med soningen, noe som har blitt kritisert for å ødelegge fengselsmyndighetenes muligheter til å rehabillitere de innsatte:
London now has about 11,500 fewer prison places than convicts, forcing many to be sent elsewhere in the country to serve their sentences.
The high number of foreign inmates in London partially reflects the large number of overseas nationals living in the capital. Ministers also insist an increasing number is now being deported. But critics point out this usually happens only once their jail term is complete, and the Government has failed to deliver on a promise to send more back to their home countries to serve their sentences.
Conservative immigration spokesman Damian Green obtained the London figures in written parliamentary replies from the Ministry of Justice.
He said: «This is a side-effect of the years when immigration has been out of control.
«The sheer numbers coming here have meant essential public services, including London’s prisons, are under severe strain. All the tough talk from ministers bears no relation to real conditions.»
Other London jails included in today’s figures are Belmarsh, which has 193 foreign inmates – 21 per cent of its total population – and Holloway, which has 126 among its 485 women prisoners. About a quarter of Feltham Young Offender Institution’s 650 places are filled by foreign nationals.
The Home Office, which deported more than 4,000 foreign criminals last year, failed to respond. The Ministry of Justice has previously said it is seeking to ensure more overseas offenders return home to serve their sentences.