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259 Indians in overcrowded UK jails

india Updated: Sep 14, 2006 11:20 IST
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There are 259 Indian nationals and 444 Pakistani nationals in jails in Britain, constituting some of the highest numbers of foreign nationals in overcrowded British jails, latest official figures reveal.

In fact, according to the figures, the number of foreign prisoners in jails in England and Wales is rising four times faster than British inmates.

One in every seven inmates is now a foreign national. Britain's prison system currently houses criminals from 168 countries.

Since 2001, the number of foreign nationals in jails has risen from 6,926 to 10,834 - an increase of more than 50 per cent.

Over the same period, the number of British prisoners has risen by 12 per cent to around 66,000.

Jamaica tops the table of foreign prisoners, with 1,564 nationals, including 134 women.

Nigeria has the second largest contingent, followed by the Irish Republic, Pakistan, Turkey and Somalia.

Prison officers' leaders said the huge number of foreign inmates, many of whom did not speak English, was making the policing of prisons more and more difficult.

Brian Caton, general secretary of the Prison Officers' Association, said: "Increases of this nature result in huge cultural and language difficulties in our prisons. We are ill-prepared, ill-trained and quite incapable of meeting the needs of many of these prisoners."

The Home Office said: "We are aware that there are people in prison who ought not to be there, including foreign national prisoners, those with mental health issues and vulnerable women. We have outlined our intention to remove these where appropriate."

Ten countries with the highest numbers in Britain's jails are: Jamaica 1,564 (1,430 men, 134 women); Nigeria 890 (709, 181); Irish Republic 649 (603, 46); Pakistan 444 (436, 8); Turkey 294 (291, 3); Somalia 284 (274, 10); India 259 (251, 8) Iraq 241 (241, 0); China 226 (194, 32); Ghana 200 (170, 30).

The figures are from the Home Office records for December 2005.

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