£55,000 Pay-Out For Foreign Prisoners Held Too Long

Nine criminals held in jail for extra time during last year’s foreign prisoners crisis have been handed pay-outs totalling £55,000 by the Home Office.

The foreigners claimed compensation because of mistakes made while they were being held beyond their original jail term.

Director general of the Home Office’s Immigration and Nationality Directorate, Lin Homer, said she hoped the risk of repeating similar errors had been “minimised”.

In an update to the Commons’ all-party Home Affairs Select Committee on the debacle, Ms Homer also disclosed new figures on the 1,013 foreign prisoners who were released from jail without being considered for deportation. She said 28 of the 189 serious offenders are still at large.

Ms Homer said: “Since April 1, 2006 the department has paid, or payments are being processed to, nine claimants and the sum total of these taken together is £55,500.

“Typically, compensation has been paid out in these cases due to technical deficiencies around serving the detainee with appropriate legal documents.

“We have reviewed our processes and I am confident we are minimising the risks of such failures reoccurring.”

Of the original 1,013 cases, only 163 have been deported from the UK so far, said Ms Homer. Officials are seeking to remove another 512, she added.

The courts quashed deportation bids in 31 cases and in 275 officials decided not to seek deportation, with the remainder still in jail or on remand.

Since December, one serious new offence has been committed by one of the offenders, she revealed.

A criminal previously convicted of a serious offence went on to commit another unspecified serious offence on a family member, Ms Homer said.

One case out of 43 in the “most serious” category of criminals – those convicted of murder, manslaughter, rape and child sex offenders – is still on the loose.

And 27 from the “more serious” group such as other violent offenders and sex attackers are yet to be found.

Beyond the original number of offenders, a total of 2,240 foreign prisoners have been deported since last April, an increase of 40 per cent compared to the same period in the previous 12 months.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said: “How long will it take the Government to clear up the consequences of its own incompetence?

“All the Government’s bluster and tough talk cannot obscure the fact that serious offenders are still on the loose because of its failure to turn rhetoric into action.”