Aliens Behind Bars: Punishment and Human Rights of Foreign National Prisoners

London: In the year 2000, there were 5,586 Foreign National Prisoners (FNO’s) in England and Wales. However, by March 2021, this figure increased to 9,850, representing a rise of almost 76% in the number of foreign national prisoners in the past two decades. As of March 2021, the foreign national prisoners represent approximately 13% of the total prison population in England and Wales.

Home Office defines the Foreign National Offender as someone who is not a British citizen and is convicted in the United Kingdom (UK) of a serious criminal offence. The number of deportations related to foreign national prisoners also appears to be increasing. Almost 50,000 foreign national offenders have been deported from the UK between 2010 and 2020 with approximately 4,700 foreign national offenders deported in a year between March 2019 to March 2020. The Ministry of Justice prison population projection shows that the prison population of England and Wales is expected to grow to 98,700 by the year 2026 – an increase of more than 25% from the current total of 78, 328.

Considering this projection, the growing number of foreign national prisoners in the past two decades, and the increasing global mobility, it becomes important to research this group of prisoners. It becomes equally important to ascertain the reasons behind the exponential rise and to research the legislation and policies pertinent to the said group of prisoners.

Legislation and Policies: Whilst in the last two decades, the successive UK governments have introduced a number of legislation and policies pertinent to foreign national offenders, it may not be incorrect to say that the two significant pieces of legislation surrounding foreign national offenders are the UK Borders Act 2007 and the Hubs and Spokes policy 2009.

Read more: Irtiza Majeed Sheikh, Oxford Law,

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