How we treat foreigners after they have served their sentences

I don't usually approve of blog posts which merely reproduce newspaper articles.  In this case, though, I don't think there is any need for comment on an article by Alan Travis in the Guardian on 22 March 2007.  Here are extracts:

The Home Office round-up of released foreign prisoners for deportation in the wake of last year's crisis was so indiscriminate that it included some British citizens, the chief inspector of prisons reveals today.

Anne Owers says that the trawl carried out in the wake of the crisis that cost Charles Clarke his job as home secretary also wrongly involved the detention of some Irish ex-offenders, even though they had lived in Britain for decades with all their family ties here, and some who had committed only minor offences.

The follow-up report on the foreign prisoner crisis says that immigration authorities were unable to cope with the workload created by the decision to detain 1,000 ex-prisoners who had been released without being considered for deportation.

"As a consequence, foreign nationals, suddenly and unexpectedly threatened with deportation, also found it impossible to find out what was happening to them, and were held in prisons and immigration removal centres far past their sentence expiry dates, even those who were desperate to return home," says Ms Owers. The chief inspector adds that their presence has "significantly contributed" to the prison overcrowding crisis of the last six months and destabilised immigration removal centres.

Ms Owers says that although extra staff and resources were provided to deal with the problem the inherited backlog of cases and lack of proper systems prevented a swift resolution.

This was compounded by the fact that the immigration officials involved, operating at a distance and on paper, often seemed unaware of the human cost of their decisions.   [Emphasis added — BLB]

You can, and should, read the full report here.  Shaming.

How can the minister responsible for this remain in office? 


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