Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Prisoners will be locked up in jails outside UK in new law announced at Tory conference


The Tories are going to introduce a new law to allow the justice system to sentence criminals to prison time in foreign countries.

The party announced the move at their Manchester conference, pledging new measures to ensure the Government can continue locking up the most dangerous criminals for longer.

Speaking to Conservative members this afternoon, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said: “I can tell you today that we also intend to look at the Norwegian example and explore renting overseas capacity”.

The new law, allowing for the use of prisons abroad, would mean Britain following in the footsteps of other European nations including Norway and Belgium.

Mr Chalk boasted that the Government is “doing more than any since the Victorian era to expand prison capacity”, but conceded they need to go further.

Prisons Minister Damian Hinds said: “Renting space in foreign prisons is an established practice in other nations, and proves that only the Conservatives are committed to taking the tough action to make our streets safer”.

He added it will help secure the protection of the public – a top priority for the Government.

Between 2015 and 2018, Norway rented prison space from the Netherlands, under the “Norgerhaven” agreement.

Approximately 650 prisoners convicted in Norway were sent to Norgerhaven Prison in the Netherlands.

Between 2010-2016, under the “Nova Belgica/Tilburg” agreement, between 500-650 prisoners convicted in Belgium were transferred to the Netherlands to serve their sentences.

The Government is also pledging 20,000 new prison places, around 5,500 of which have been completed so far.

This includes two new prisons with 1,700 capacity – HMP Five Wells and HMP Fosse Way.

Based on the Government’s current forecasts, 8,000 new prison places will have been completed by May 2025, though that will include refurbishments.

Thew plan for 20,000 new prison places will be completed by 2030, and will cost around £4 billion.

One senior Ministry of Justice source told a conference that badgers had been a key problem in delaying building work in certain places.

Mr Chalk conceded prisons cost a lot of money: “Not only does society suffer the crime in the first place, but it also suffers the punishment to the tune of around £46,000 a year per adult male prisoner”.

“Now we make no apologies for locking up the most dangerous offenders for longer where that is necessary to protect the public. And that is why we have extended the use of whole life orders, so that in more cases life really does mean life.”

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