The number of European criminals in English prisons has doubled over the past decade, while only a handful are being sent home to complete their sentences.
Official figures show that almost 3,000 offenders from European Union countries are now being jailed each year, the majority receiving sentences of four years of more for serious crimes. The number of criminals from the continent being locked up for violence and sexual offences has tripled in recent years. But so far no prisoners have been sent back under a new scheme intended to repatriate foreign offenders, and only 10 have been returned in recent months under existing arrangements.
The statistics were uncovered in parliamentary written questions by Martin Horwood, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham who sits on his party’s international affairs committee. He said they show that, at an estimated cost of more than £30,000 to keep one prisoner locked up for a year, Britain could save millions by returning offenders to their home countries under the new scheme.