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UK admits to releasing over 1000 foreign criminals by mistake before deportation reviews

[JURIST] [JURIST Europe] UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke [official profile] has insisted he will not resign despite admitting Tuesday to a "shocking administrative blunder" that resulted in the release of 1023 foreign criminals in the past seven years who were to undergo deportation inquiries. The oversight occurred despite warnings by the UK National Audit Office [official website] in July 2005 against conducting deportation inquiries at the end of prison sentences.

The Home Office attributed the failure to an ever-increasing number of cases and the lack of resources to administer them. Critics view the blunder as compromising the Blair government's tough public stance on crime. The list of released criminals includes 204 drug offenders, nine rapists, five child sex offenders, 41 burglars, and five convicted killers. So far only 107 of the missing 1023 have been found; 20 of those have been deported. Read Clarke's official statement on the premature prisoner releases. The Guardian has more.

Angela Onikepe is an Associate Editor for JURIST Europe, reporting European legal news from a European perspective. She is based in the UK.

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