More Albanian prisoners will be removed from British prisons and sent back to Albania under the terms of a new deal signed today.
The agreement was signed between the UK and Albania Justice Ministers Chris Philp and Etild Gjonaj. Called the Prisoner Transfer Agreement, it is reciprocal and means that British criminals in Albanian jails can also be returned to the UK. The deal also means that more prisoners can be sent back to serve their full sentence in Albania as per the terms of the sentence handed down by a British judge.
Albanian nationals currently account for the highest percentage of foreign prisoners with more than 1,500 behind bars in England and Wales. The UK doesn’t collect statistics on the number of their citizens imprisoned abroad, but the number in Albania is thought to be very low.
Minister for Immigration Compliance and Justice, Chris Philp, said:
“We are committed to removing foreign criminals who have abused our hospitality and inflicted misery on our communities. Someone who commits a serious crime in the UK should be barred from returning so that the taxpayer no longer has to pay for them and victims can be confident justice has been done.”
Over the last two years, almost 8,000 foreign national offenders have been removed from prisons, immigration centers, and the community.
Prisoners can now be transferred without their consent and will be barred from ever returning to the UK. The cost of repatriation will fall on the transferring state while the remaining period of detention falls to the receiving state. The agreement signed today builds on one signed earlier this month. It still needs to be ratified in Albania and additional legislation may have to be created to support it.
At the beginning of July, British Home Secretary Priti Patel visited Albania and met with her Albanian counterpart Bledi Cuci. She signed an agreement that will not just send back Albanian criminals but also those who have overstayed their visas or failed with asylum applications.