London, Aug 9 (Agency)
Jails in Britain should not be used as hotels for foreigners, Indian-origin Conservative MP Priti Patel said after reports emerged that the public was paying 400 million pounds a year to keep foreign criminals in jail.
Official figures from the justice ministry showed that more than 10,000 foreign nationals were lodged in England and Wales prisons till June, comprising about one in eight of the prison population, the Daily Express reported.
Other MPs have called for overseas criminals to serve their sentences in their own countries.
"Prison is always the best place for dangerous criminals but our jails should not be used as hotels for foreigners. Living in Britain is a privilege and foreigners who come here and flout our laws should be sent packing without delay," Patel said.
The ministry said it costs 40,000 pounds a year to keep a foreign national in prison, leaving a total bill of 434 million pounds at current levels.
"We have voluntary prisoner transfer agreements with more than 100 countries, allowing prisoners to serve their sentences in their home countries," a ministry spokesman said.