Home Business News Prisoners to be released early as Prison will be full by ‘the end of March’

Prisoners to be released early as Prison will be full by ‘the end of March’

12th Mar 24 4:41 pm

The Justice Secretary has said that prisoners will be released up to two months early, which comes as the Prime Minister’s spokesperson warned that prisons will be full by “the end of March.”

Alex Chalk told MPs in the House of Commons during a speech that the measures will be specifically target foreign national offenders (FNOs).

Across the UK prison system there is currently 10,000 FNOs and Chalk said that the government will “radically change” the way they deal with these prisoners to free up space.

To ease overcrowding in prisons the end of custody supervised licence (ECSL) scheme extension which was announced on Monday will therefore take it from 18 days to 60 days, across jails in England and Wales.

Chalk told the House of Commons on Tuesday, “I can tell the House that we will radically change the way that FNO cases are processed.

“We have created a new task force across the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, including the Prison Service, immigration enforcement, and asylum and modern slavery teams.

“We have surged 400 additional caseworkers to prioritise these cases. They will be in place by the end of March, and we will streamline the end-to-end removal process.

“Second, we are expanding the number of FNOs we can remove, for example by bringing forward legislation to allow us to remove foreign offenders with limited leave to remain under conditional caution.”

Chalk said through a “robust new agreement with Albania” some 400 FNOs have been kicked out of the UK and there are plans to rent prisons overseas in the Criminal Justice Bill.

Shabana Mahmood, the Shadow Justice Secretary warned Chalk’s new measures will “cause shockwaves” across the country.

Mahmood said in a statement in the Commons, “Let us be in no doubt, this is the most drastic form of early release for prisoners that this country has ever seen, and in his 11-page and 10-minute long statement today, it merited one paragraph.

“This is a measure which will cause shockwaves and deep concern across our country, and the secretary of state seems to think a quiet written ministerial statement published late last night and one paragraph today is good enough – it is not.”

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