UK to send Ja­maican pris­on­ers back home

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

More than 300 Ja­maican pris­on­ers serv­ing time in Bri­tish jails will be given the boot back to their home­land; this as Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron made the first visit by a UK Prime Min­is­ter to Ja­maica in 14 years.

The pris­on­ers will be re­turned to their home­lands to serve their sen­tence un­der an agree­ment signed by the UK and Ja­maica on 30th Septem­ber and con­cluded af­ter years of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Sixty-nine per­cent of sen­tenced Ja­maican pris­on­ers are serv­ing sen­tences for vi­o­lence and drug of­fences. As of June 30, 2015, there were 619 Ja­maican na­tion­als in pris­ons in Eng­land and Wales. Ap­prox­i­mately sixty per­cent of these were serv­ing sen­tences of four years or more, in­clud­ing in­de­ter­mi­nate sen­tences.

“It is ab­so­lutely right that for­eign crim­i­nals who break our laws are prop­erly pun­ished but this shouldn’t be at the ex­pense of the hard­work­ing Bri­tish tax­payer,” PM Cameron com­mented. “That’s why this agree­ment is so im­por­tant. It will mean Ja­maican crim­i­nals are sent back home to serve their sen­tences, sav­ing the Bri­tish tax­payer mil­lions of pounds but still en­sur­ing jus­tice is done. And it will help Ja­maica, by help­ing to pro­vide a new prison – strength­en­ing their crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.”

The UK will pro­vide £25 mil­lion from the gov­ern­ment’s ex­ist­ing aid bud­get to help fund the con­struc­tion of a new 1,500 bed prison in Ja­maica, over­com­ing one of the stick­ing points in the ne­go­ti­a­tions which had been the con­di­tions in ex­ist­ing pris­ons in Ja­maica. The prison is ex­pected to be built by 2020 and from then re­turns will get un­der­way. The Pris­oner Trans­fer Agree­ment is ex­pected to save Bri­tish taxpayers around £10 mil­lion a year.

The agree­ment pro­vides for the trans­fer of pris­on­ers who have re­ceived sen­tences of four years or more and who have 18 months or more left to serve in cus­tody. The av­er­age an­nual cost of a prison place in the UK is £25,900.

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