Criminals awaiting deportation net £500,000

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Indy Politics

Foreign criminals awaiting deportation have been handed some £500,000 in compensation since April last year, it has been revealed.

The convicts were handed the money after being kept in custody beyond the end of their sentence while the authorities considered ejecting them.

The House of Lords ruled three years ago that thousands of foreign inmates should have the same release provisions as their British counterparts.

They must now be assessed for parole like any other prisoner, and either freed on licence or detained under immigration powers if it is granted.

Critics claim that as a result many foreign offenders are being let out and simply go on the run - making a mockery of the government's efforts to deport them.

The latest figures, slipped out in a parliament question response on the last day of term, suggest that dozens are also getting cash windfalls.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson told MPs that between April 2008 and June this year the UK Border Agency paid £498,897.21 in compensation to foreign prisoners held in custody beyond the expiry of their sentence.

Some £78,500 was handed over in a single month last July. Mr Johnson said no details were available from before that period, and did not disclose how many individuals had received compensation.

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