[JURIST Europe] New UK Home Secretary John Reid [official profile] admitted on Monday that the number of serious offenders among convicted foreign criminals released from custody in the UK by administrative error [JURIST report] before deportation reviews may be double of what was first suspected. The new figure given by Reid was 150, up from the 90 announced by former Home Secretary Charles Clarke [JURIST news archive] last week before he was replaced in a cabinet shuffle. In addition, 93 of the released prisoners are armed robbers and not included in the count of most serious offenders. Reid also announced that 75 of the 90 were either arrested, detained, or under surveillance. We now have another 60 we want to detect and detain as urgently as possible because that additional number has resulted from the additional work done over the past week," said Reid. He added that about 75% of those released would face deportation. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [JURIST news archive] announced meanwhile that in order to deport those released, new legislation must be created to override the human rights of the deportees and made a commitment to pushing through such a bill.
The problem emerged in late April, when Clarke admitted to an administrative mistake [JURIST report] that resulted in the release over the past seven years of 1023 foreign criminals who were to undergo deportation inquiries. The Guardian has more.
Tatyana Margolin is an Associate Editor for JURIST Europe, reporting European legal news from a European perspective. She is based in the UK.