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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Key points: Clarke statement
Here are the key points from Home Secretary Charles Clarke's statement to MPs on the deportation and removal of foreign national prisoners.

Update on 1,023 freed foreign prisoners

  • Mr Clarke said of the 79 most serious cases from the foreign prisoners released without being considered for deportation, action to remove them had begun in 70 cases.

  • In the other nine cases in line with "current policy criteria" deportation action was not being pursued. Of the 70, 32 were now accounted for - 38 therefore are not.

    Out of the total 1,023, consideration of the case for deportation had been completed in 554 instances and deportation action was being pursued in 446 cases.

  • Mr Clarke said his department had deported about 3,000 of the growing number of foreign national prisoners in the years 2004 and 2005.

    Tracking criminals through the system

  • Mr Clarke said among his proposals to sort out the problem of removing foreign criminals was the "guiding principle that foreign nationals guilty of criminality should expect to be deported".

  • Data that identifies individuals as foreign nationals must be "captured" at the beginning of the criminal justice system including at the point of arrest and as the case proceeds through the courts.

  • Sanctions should be available at all stages to use against individuals who give false information on nationality or no information at all.

  • The issue of deportation should be raised through the sentencing process and new guidelines would be published by the Sentencing Guidelines Council to set clear criteria according to which judges should make deportation recommendations when sentencing.

  • Prisoners had to be deported at an earlier stage of their sentence and ideally serve their entire sentence in their home country.

    Wider use of removal and deportation

  • The categories of offenders who are considered for deportation would be extended.

  • Where deportation can properly be considered the "clear presumption should be that deportation will follow unless there are special circumstances why it cannot".

  • There was a strong case, said Mr Clarke, to extend these proposals to any individual convicted of an imprisonable offence.

  • The current practice was to consider for deportation people from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) with a sentence of 12 months or more and EEA nationals with a sentence of 24 months or more.

    Speeding up the process

  • Deportation decisions were already being taken before a prisoner's release, Mr Clarke said.

  • The home secretary said he would look into taking advantage of "administrative removal" rather than deportation "that is, where individuals have no or limited leave to remain".

  • A new power in primary legislation will be considered to enable the detention of an individual pending consideration of whether they should be deported or removed as a result of a criminal conviction.

  • He would look at amending primary legislation so deportation appeals "save for those raising asylum or human rights issues that are not clearly unfounded" were heard after individuals had been deported from the UK.

  • The introduction of an automatic bar on return for all those who are subject to administrative removal due to criminality, as is already the case with those who are deported.




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