England: Foreign criminals to face deportation in new prison measures

England: Foreign criminals to face deportation in new prison measures

UK justice secretary Alex Chalk is to announce that foreign criminals in England and Wales, including drug dealers, thieves, and burglars, will bypass prosecution and instead be deported in an effort to address the prison overcrowding crisis.

The proposal, greenlit by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, seeks to mitigate the strain on English and Welsh prisons. Currently, these institutions house a record 88,225 inmates, of which 10,500 are foreigners. The annual cost to taxpayers for jailing foreign nationals is approximately £500 million.

Central to the initiative is the legal presumption against imprisoning criminals facing potential sentences between six months to a year. Instead of serving short sentences, criminals will serve “robust” community sentences, which will be monitored via electronic tags and enforced curfews.

However, violent and sexual offenders are exceptions to the rule.

Mr Chalk said: “Instead of letting foreign nationals take up space in our prisons at vast expense to the law-abiding public we will take action to get them out of the country and stop them from ever returning.”

The new approach requires foreign offenders to admit guilt in exchange for avoiding imprisonment. Although it will not result in a conviction, the offence will remain on their record.

Mr Chalk aims to sidestep criticism of “soft justice” by emphasising that serious sex and violent offenders will see increased prison time. He said that rapists will serve their complete sentences, with no parole option at the two-thirds mark.

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