Albanian prisoners can now be sent back to Albania to finish their prison sentences, following a new agreement signed by Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright and Albanian Justice Minister Eduard Halimi.
The compulsory prisoner transfer agreement will allow the British government to seek to transfer those eligible Albanian nationals in UK jails back to Albania to serve the rest of their sentences. This will free up space in prisons here and reduce the cost to the British taxpayer.
The UK currently holds almost 200 Albanian national prisoners and the Prison Service has already identified those who are eligible for transfer. All eligible cases have been referred to the UK Border Agency for deportation; the first transfers are likely to happen later this year.
This is the UK’s first major bilateral prisoner transfer agreement providing for compulsory transfer outside the European Union. Albania is a Council of Europe member state and is subject to regular prison inspections.
Jeremy Wright said:
‘I am delighted to have been able to co-sign this prisoner transfer agreement with my Albanian counterpart today. The co-operation of the Albanian authorities has been crucial in ensuring these negotiations have proved so fruitful.
‘The British Government wants more foreign national prisoners to serve their sentences in their home country. We will continue to work with other governments to share best practice, improve standards and ultimately save the British taxpayer money.’